Health claims and other claims about healing, curing or treating diseases made by nutritional supplement and functional food companies are regulated by both the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Companies that sell any type of nutrition products or functional foods want people to know the benefits of using their products, and the FDA and the FTC have very explicit guidelines about what a company can and cannot claim about its products.
If you’ve been around this industry, you’ve no doubt come across miracle products that “cure cancer”, “reverse aging”, “prevent heart disease”, and otherwise solve most of the ills of the world that modern medicine can’t solve. If these claims were true, I’d still have hair, look 20 years younger, and have the physical flexibility and energy, and stamina of a teenager!
If your company sells nutritional and/or food products, you must understand where the line is between touting your products’ health benefits, and making unsubstantiated health claims that attract the attention of the FDA and/or the FTC.
Distributors and consultants are notorious about making claims that can get the company in big trouble with the feds. A direct selling company selling any type of health or wellness products must have very clear and obvious guidelines about what distributors can and cannot say about the company’s products. They should establish a self-regulating system that helps them identify distributors who put the company (and ALL of the distributors) at risk, and then take swift and decisive action to end the illegal marketing.
The FDA and FTC are not likely to pursue a distributor who violates the law — they’ll come after you.
Here’s a simple infographic from Natural Products INSIDER (May/June 2016, Vol.21, No. 3) that may help you stay on the legal side of the line — I hope you find it useful: