Food and Drug

Ed note: This post originally appeared on Ad Law Access.

That the FTC has announced another weight loss settlement is no news at all. The FTC averages about six new weight loss orders per year. The new settlement, nevertheless, is notable as a reminder of the following points.

The FTC has the power to impose bans. The Order against the marketers of Double Shot diet pills “permanently restrain[s] and enjoin[s]” them from advertising or selling “any weight-loss product.” The FTC does not frequently impose bans in weight loss cases, but bans have been used before in similar instances where extreme Gut Check claims (discussed below) have been made.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The FTC Has Announced a Weight Loss Settlement … But Wait, Keep Reading”

That might sound like a stupid question. I mean, there’s a package right there in the refrigerator that says “hummus” on it. That guy from Arrested Development tells me it’s real hummus. If this country can allow defamation suits over suggesting that “pink slime” is not “ground beef,” why would anyone think to look further than face value on a foodstuff’s name?

But when it comes to hummus — a product that’s spurred legal battles before — the FDA is being dragged into the debate over what it really means to be a vegan’s replacement for protein delightful Mediterranean dip….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What The Hell Is ‘Hummus’ Anyway?”

Despite the ever-growing ways that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates what Americans can consume, FDA does not currently regulate genetically modified food. The State of Vermont wants to step in.

This week, Vermont will become the first state to mandate labeling of food products containing ingredients from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It would require retailers of raw agricultural commodities to clearly and conspicuously label GMO-sourced food with the words “produced with genetic engineering.” (Think ears of corn in your supermarket’s produce section.) Producers of packaged food products must label their products with similar language if any ingredient contained in the product comes from a genetically modified source. (Think of that 56-ingredient protein bar sitting on your desk.)

The bill passed the Vermont House and Senate, and Governor Peter Shumlin just signed it into law yesterday. The law is scheduled to take effect in July 2016.

Why are some people so lathered up about eating ingredients that come from genetically modified crops? “Monsanto” has become a dirty word, with nouveau-hippie parents washing out their kids’ mouths with biodegradable, SLS-free soap when they hear them say it. Unfortunately, much public debate conflates genetic modification, exposure to pesticides, and all sorts of other “unnatural” stuff related to food.

Ironically, genetic modification of seeds aims to make crops more resistant to pests, disease, and drought, thus reducing the need for conventional chemical pesticides and increasing crop yields. A growing world population demands innovation to produce more crops with fewer resources. Billions of people need to eat. Too many GMO opponents seem to picture Dr. Frankenstein when they should be picturing Gregor Mendel or Mother Teresa. (Or, to be fair, Walter De Jong.)

That, however, is only the beginning of what’s foolish about Vermont’s new law . . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Food Fight: Eating The Costs Of Not Eating GMO Food”


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently proposed
new rules targeting electronic cigarettes. By its authority under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, FDA now regulates “tobacco products” — cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. The proposed regulation would “deem” additional products within the scope of the statutory definition of “tobacco product.” FDA would deem electronic cigarettes to be tobacco products, even though e-cigs don’t contain tobacco leaves. The deeming regulation would give FDA the power to govern e-cigs’ manufacture, sale, and use, implementing age restrictions, mandating additional scientific review of products, and scrutinizing claims made by the makers of e-cigs.

The new regulations would prevent e-cigarette manufacturers from telling consumers that their products are a safer alternative than tobacco cigarettes. The deeming regulations would prohibit claiming that vaporized nicotine “presents a lower risk of tobacco-related disease or is less harmful than one or more commercially marketed tobacco products.” In fact, the new rules would prevent them from even advertising to the public that their “product or its smoke does not contain or is free of a substance,” even though e-cigs do not produce smoke and do not contain tobacco in any common-sense meaning of the word.

Banning this sort of claims is absurd: e-cigs lack the more than 4,000 chemicals, many of them carcinogenic, of combustible tobacco cigarettes. Electronic nicotine vaporizers need not be particularly healthy in order to be less unhealthy than traditional cigarettes.

This regulatory push is poisoned by a bevy of bad arguments. Most of the rhetoric consists of pure emotion on the part of anti-tobacco activists. Certain anti-tobacco and anti-smoking factions grow hysterical at the mere specter of smoking. Unfortunately, a more powerful lobby is also trying to squelch e-cigs . . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Smoke Signals: The Misinformation Behind FDA’s Proposed Regulation Of E-Cigarettes”

I guess soda pushers will have to go back to slinging rocks.

In case you haven’t been following along with developments inside Mike Bloomberg’s militarized nanny state, last year our elected tyrant outlawed the sale of soda in sizes over 16 ounces at movie theaters and other public places. The mayor felt that nobody needed more than 16 ounces of soda in one sitting, notwithstanding the fact that nobody asked him what my mother thinks.

The law sparked a lawsuit, and today a judge overturned Mayor Bloomberg’s ban.

Bloomberg was not immediately available for comment, most likely because his lawyers were busy drawing up documents to move forward with Bloomberg’s new purchase of the “New York Supreme Court”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Overturns NYC Soda Ban; NOW WE JUST NEED SOME POP ROCKS!”

There are only three occasions on which I order a Budweiser:

  • I haven’t decided what beer I want when it’s my turn to order and I say, “I’ll start with a Bud,” because I don’t want to stare at the waitress with my mouth hanging open like this is my first rodeo.
  • I haven’t decided if I want to get drunk with that person or group, so I order a Bud in a non-committal fashion that indicates, “I might have a pitcher of this, or I might leave a half drunk one on the table and bail. At the very least, I’ll be going to the bathroom soon to reassess.”
  • I’m at a sporting event, concert, kegger, or involved in a drinking game. Anything that says “it’s about the quantity not the quality.”

Absent those (more specific than you think) circumstances, I don’t drink Budweiser. Eww, gross, who does that? It tastes like nothing, goes through you like bullet, and says “I like TV commercials” to the general public.

But last week, Anheuser-Busch InBev got sued because a plaintiff alleges that the Buds (and other beers brewed by the company) have been purposefully watered down.

And here I thought that disreputable bars watered down their real beer with Bud Lights….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Did You Know Budweiser Got Sued? And That Their Ads In The Papers This Weekend Were Their Response?”