Themed vitamins are a great way to help kids get proper nutrition, but are the health claims always accurate? The Federal Trade Commission says no. Vitamin makers who sold Disney and Marvel Super Hero-themed children’s multivitamins recently settled with the FTC to dole out $450,000 over false claims.
According to the FTC, the Disney and Marvel vitamin manufacturers made bogus claims about certain nutrient levels, specifically DHA, which mislead parents about supposed health benefits like improved brain development and vision.
Back in 2010, the FTC stepped in and reached a settlement with vitamin marketers about these misleading health claims. As a result of the settlement, the FTC is mailing out checks to consumers who bought vitamins from the companies that lied about nutrient levels.
Let’s have a closer look at this story and see what’s in store for consumers who bought Disney and Marvel-themed vitamins.
FTC Fights to Protect Consumers From False Claims
The FTC doesn’t like it when companies make false claims about products. In the Disney and Marvel vitamin settlement, the alleged that the manufacturers mislead consumers about DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid that promotes proper brain and eye development in children.
The DHA levels listed on the vitamin packaging were found to be significantly lower when the vitamins were tested. In fact ,the FTC determined the vitamins contained only trace amounts — essentially, just enough DHA to be detected by testing but nowhere near enough to promote eye and brain development.
The product advertised a 100 milligram dose of DHA when, in reality, each serving contained closer to 1/10 of a single milligram. That’s not enough to provide any health benefits.
In response, the FTC went after these vitamin makers. Here’s the agency’s original statement:
The FTC charged NBTY, Inc., NatureSmart LLC, and Rexall Sundown, Inc., with making deceptive claims about the amount of DHA in their children’s vitamin gummies and tablets, and the effect of that amount on eye and brain development in children,”
The result was a settlement between the FTC and the vitamin manufacturers. So what does that mean for consumers?
Consumers Receive Payouts for Kids’ Vitamins
More than $425,000 is being paid out and mailed to consumers who bought the children’s vitamins at stores like CVS and Wal-Mart, or online. The vitamins featured popular children’s characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Disney Princesses and Spider-Man.
Eligible customers who submitted claims between May 1, 2008 and September 30, 2010 will receive 100% of what they paid for the product, up to $125 per household.
Settlement checks must be cashed in within 60 days. Remember, the FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide any kind of information before checks are cashed.
What Do You Think?
Did you buy Disney or Marvel-themed vitamins? Did you file a claim? What do you think about misleading product labels, specifically ones aimed at promoting children’s health? Let us know in the comments section.