Thursday, June 13, 2024

Balance Of Nature Must Pay $1.1 Million in Consumer Protection Settlement with State of California — For Fraudulent Health Claims


I’ve told you about the fruity business called Balance of Nature. Their shady business was cited by the FDA a few years ago for making fraudulent claims. Balance of Nature is one of the biggest advertisers on AM radio. Their constant advertorials — actors pretending to be satisfied customers — are heard 24/7.

Now comes word that the State of California has settled a consumer protection lawsuit against the questionable company over its claims that it stuffs fresh fruits and vegetables into pills that can replace the actual food.

Sonoma Count California District Attorney Carla Rodriguez announced this past week that her office — as part of the California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force — “settled a consumer protection action against Evig, LLC doing business as Balance of Nature. The case was filed in Napa Superior Court by the District Attorney’s offices of Sonoma, Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, and Solano Counties, which together comprise the task force.”

According to a press release: “As part of the settlement, Balance of Nature agreed to enter into a judgment, which includes a monetary payment of $1.1 million dollars. Under the terms of the judgment, Balance of Nature must pay $250,000 in customer restitution. Any California resident who purchased a Balance of Nature product in the past 6 years will receive a notice on how to claim a refund. Balance of Nature will also pay $850,000 in civil penalties and investigative costs. Further, the judgment prohibits Balance of Nature from engaging in any of the unlawful conduct described in the complaint. Balance of Nature did not admit liability.”

The complaint, according to the Sonoma County DA’s office, alleged that “Balance of Nature made claims that its products could prevent, treat, mitigate, or cure serious disease conditions, including 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 life threatening illness[.]” 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.”

The complaint further alleged that “Balance of Nature enrolled customers into an automatically renewing subscription program, and charged them a recurring monthly fee, without clearly disclosing the terms of the program, giving customers an adequate acknowledgement of their enrollment in the program, or allowing customers to cancel online, all in violation of California’s Automatic Renewal Law.

District Attorney Carla Rodriguez stated, “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.”

Balance of Nature is spending millions on advertising, which means radio and TV news departments are unlikely to report this story — or stop taking the ads. But this company is a fraud. It’s time for another FDA clamp down.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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