The verification statement appeared on the labels of about 60 Spring Valley dietary supplement products, including Echinacea, garlic, ginseng, gingko biloba, St. John’s wort, and saw palmetto, which were the subject of a cease and desist letter from the NY AG last year.
According to a statement on the IA AG’s website, Miller’s office had become concerned that the “verification” statement could give consumers a mistaken impression as to what product features an independent lab actually verified.
“Dietary supplement marketing gives rise to special concerns, since ads and labels emphasize health benefits, but a lack of regulatory safeguards means that manufacturers and sellers don’t have to show that their products work—or work safely—before they go on store shelves,” said AG Miller.
“We think it’s important that dietary supplement claims are clear to consumers and that those who make and sell the products can fully back-up any claims that appear on packaging and in advertising.”
While the company believed that consumers had not been harmed, it stated it is committed to changing the labels in question.
“We’re pleased that Walmart is willing to work with us in resolving this issue here in Iowa and across the country,” said Miller. “Although we have not received any consumer complaints about the practice, we want to be proactive. To its credit, Walmart began removing the verification statement from new labels in September of 2014, and recently completed the process.”
Walmart has agreed to provide $100,000 to the IA AG’s office for refunds for Iowa consumers.
A statement from Walmart read: "Quality and customer satisfaction are extremely important to us and we want our customers to have complete confidence in the products they buy from us. While we don’t believe there was anything wrong with our labeling, we made adjustments last year to provide additional clarity. We are glad we were able to resolve the issue with the attorney general’s office."