The Federal Trade Commission said Friday that lawsuits are
being filed across the country against Web sites imitating news sites to
sell acai berry weight-loss pills.
"The "reporters" on these sites supposedly have done
independent evaluations of acai berry supplements, and claim that the
products cause major weight loss in a short period of time with no diet or
exercise. In reality the websites are deceptive advertisements placed by
third-party or "affiliate" marketers," said the FTC Friday.
The state of Illinois
is filing a separate case against a marketing affiliate of acai berry
A link on one Acai Berry Web site to the claim that Fox
News had rated it "the #1 Superfood" was no longer live Friday with a
notice that the account had been terminated, though the site still trumpeted
"as seen on CNN, ABC, and more."
The berries have gotten a lot of press for being cures of
everything from obesity to impotence. However, stories on the real CNN and ABC
included ones about Oprah and Dr. Oz suing acai berry marketers for
implying they endorsed the products (ABC), and a CNN story about public
interest groups claiming the acai berry diet claims were unsubstantiated.
The FTC has made a priority of fighting bogus
diet/supplement claims because of their risks.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.