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Below is a press release issued by Irwin Naturals about its settlement of an investigation into its mislabeling and falsely advertising some of its products under California Law:

Irwin Naturals, one of the nation’s leading suppliers of natural dietary and herbal supplements, announces that it has reached a settlement with a California task force that named seven of its hundreds of products as being mislabeled or falsely advertised according to California law. The company has resolved all issues raised in the investigation.

The task force alleged that several Irwin products did not carry the proper lead warning label as required by California’s unique Proposition 65 law, but not that any of them contained an unsafe amount of lead. No product recall was or will be instituted as a result of the settlement, and no products were reformulated in response.

Proposition 65 requires a warning label for any product that contains an identifiable amount of a chemical or heavy metal on a daily dose basis. However, according to Prop. 65, the level of lead at which a product is considered unsafe is about 28 times greater than the level at which a warning on a label is required. As a result, Prop. 65 warnings have become ubiquitous throughout California on everything from wine bottles to Disneyland.

“We stand by our products, as we have for 15 years, and this settlement acknowledges that our products are safe and that we are in compliance with California laws,” said company spokesperson Rebecca Pearman. “As a trusted name in the nutritional supplement business, we are committed to best industry practices in manufacturing, quality assurance and labeling to ensure the quality and safety of our products and our continued leadership position in the industry.”

The task force also alleged that their tests failed to find Hoodia in some of the company’s products labeled as containing the herb. However, the company could not confirm these findings because no validated test method exists for identifying Hoodia in the softgel product form used by the company. The company relied instead on the industry standard method of confirming the input of Hoodia, and all manufacturing records confirmed that Hoodia had been put in to the products. The investigation did not result in either a product recall or reformulation.

Pearman said that while the company does not agree that it intentionally mislabeled or falsely advertised its products, it has no dispute with the task force’s fundamental objective to bring greater oversight to the nutritional supplement industry.

“For more than 15 years, we have staunchly supported the evolving standards under which our industry operates,” said Pearman. “California has some of the most stringent labeling laws in the nation, and in complying with those, we will continue to strive to meet or exceed all national requirements for our industry.”

Unrelated to the labeling claims was an allegation that the company failed to refund consumers who met the company’s refund policy. The task force did not identify specific complaints or consumers, but the company has set up a limited restitution fund. Consumers with questions about eligibility for refunds under the settlement can call the company at (800) 941-9098.

For the official announcement and more contact info on Irwin Naturals please visit 24-7 press release.


Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.