District attorneys from Sonoma and Napa counties, along with eight other California counties, have settled a lawsuit against a Utah-based company they had accused of falsifying the benefits of its diet supplement capsules.
Evig LLC, which does business as Balance of Nature, has agreed to pay $1.1 million, which includes $250,000 in customer restitution. This means any California resident who purchased Balance of Nature products over the past six years can claim refunds.
The investigation was done by the California Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force. It includes district attorney offices from Sonoma, Napa, Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta and Solano counties.
“The California Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force does important work throughout the state to protect consumers from false and misleading advertising in the area of dietary supplements and medical devices, and Sonoma County is proud to be a part of this task force,” Sonoma County District Attorney Carla Rodriguez said in a statement.
The case against Balance of Nature was filed in Napa County Superior Court.
Company officials could not be immediately reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Balance of Nature sells dietary supplements made of fruits and vegetables that are freeze-dried and powdered before being put in capsules. The company was accused of advertising benefits that were not supported by evidence.
According to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, false claims included:
- One serving of its fruits product, which weighs about 2 grams, has the nutritional equivalent of five servings of fruits.
- A recommended three-capsule dosage is as healthy as 10 servings of a salad made with 31 fruits and vegetables.
- Recommended servings of fruits and vegetables are equivalent to six capsules.
Balance of Nature was accused of enrolling customers into an automatically renewing subscription program and charging recurring, monthly fees without disclosing specifics.
The complaint also alleged Balance of Nature claimed its products could prevent, treat, mitigate and cure diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, fibromyalgia and cancer.
“The company went so far as to recommend that customers take 12 capsules each of its Fruits and Veggies supplements if they had been “diagnosed with (a) life-threatening illness”; according to the District Attorney’s Office. “Balance of Nature also used customer testimonials to make scientifically unsupported claims that the products could treat or cure disease conditions such as lupus, ulcers, gout, congestive heart failure, hepatitis C, and multiple sclerosis.”
You can reach Staff Writer Colin Atagi at [email protected]. On Twitter @colin_atagi.