Nine counties in California weren’t buying the “too good to be true” claims of Sensa, also known as “the sprinkle diet.” The counties took the product to court arguing that the company made false claims regarding their product’s weight loss efficacy. The attorneys won and now Sensa has to pay.
The counties of Santa Cruz, Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma took the company, Intelligent Beauty, Inc., the makers of Sensa, to court this week after the product had freely advertised that users could lose weight by sprinkling flavored crystals on their food. As part of the settlement, Sensa, can no longer make any claims of weight loss without having scientific evidence to back the claims. The company was required to pay $800,000 in penalties and will go toward the enforcement of consumer protection laws.
Pleasanton Weekly spoke with Deputy District Attorney Scott Patton, part of the legal team, and he explained why the state has to act in this case. Due to the fact that the federal government does not regulate the supplement market, no approval from the FDA is required before products like this can be sold to consumers. Patton explained further that supplements need no proof whether they are safe or effective before they are sold. The counties took Sensa to court over a false advertising charge intending to keep the market as safe as possible, and they won.
Sensa has admitted no fault in the issue, they have simply agreed to comply with the court’s decision.
Interestingly though, the Sensa company announced its corporate wellness program just this week. The company explains that they hope to see productivity increase and time loss decrease as they strive to improve the health of employees using the plan. Specifically they hope to see the obesity rates drop among workers to ward off further health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. The program can be purchased for any corporation to use from Sensa.
Sensa’s corporate plan includes online support for diet and exercise and endorses the Sensa Weight-Loss System, or the flavor crystals in the aforementioned case. The website states that the system “enhances the natural smell and taste of food to help speed up the process of feeling full and satisfied, so clients eat less and lose weight – ultimately helping companies trim some fat off the bottom line with long-term health care savings from creating a healthier workforce.”
Apparently, an $800,000 penalty is just a minor bump in the road for this weight loss company. Given the FTC’s crack down on false claims, like the recent Ab Circle Pro lawsuit for $25 million and the Skecher’s Shape-Ups lawsuit for $40 million, companies like Sensa should try sticking to the less glamorous facts.
November 27th, 2012