Thursday, February 5, 2015

Arkansas lawyers file class action against Walmart, others, over herbal products: UPDATE

Posted By on Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 3:19 PM

click to enlarge New York attorney general says Walmart's Gingko biloba brand contained powdered radish, houseplants and wheat.
  • New York attorney general says Walmart's Gingko biloba brand contained powdered radish, houseplants and wheat.
Lawyers in Little Rock and Fayetteville have filed federal suit in the Western District against Walmart, Target and Walgreens stores for selling herbal products that an investigation in New York discovered contained little or none of the ingredients advertised on the bottle. 

Herbal products named in the Arkansas suits are Spring Valley Echinacea, Spring Valley St. John's Wort, Spring Valley Gingko Biloba and Spring Valley Gingseng (Walmart brands); Up & Up Gingko Biloba, Up & Up St. John's Wort and Up & Up Valerian Root (Target); and Finest Nutrition Gingko Biloba, Finest Nutrition St. John's Wort, Finest Nutrition Gingeng and Finest Nutrition Echinacea (Walgreen Co.) The suits allege the corporations have violated  deceptive trade practices, deceptive advertising, breach of warranty and unjust enrichment. The lawyers are seeking class action status for the suits.

A report in the New York Times about the attorney general's investigation said laboratory testing "found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels. The tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies."

Among the attorney general’s findings was a popular store brand of ginseng pills at Walgreens, promoted for “physical endurance and vitality,” that contained only powdered garlic and rice. At Walmart, the authorities found that its ginkgo biloba, a Chinese plant promoted as a memory enhancer, contained little more than powdered radish, houseplants and wheat — despite a claim on the label that the product was wheat- and gluten-free.

Three out of six herbal products at Target — ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort and valerian root, a sleep aid — tested negative for the herbs on their labels. But they did contain powdered rice, beans, peas and wild carrots. And at GNC, the agency said, it found pills with unlisted ingredients used as fillers, like powdered legumes, the class of plants that includes peanuts and soybeans, a hazard for people with allergies.
 

The New York attorney general general's office has issued cease and desist orders to the three retailers and GNC demanding they stop selling the supplements. Tom Thrash, one of the attorneys in the Arkansas cases, said Target and Walgreens have agreed to the order; calls to the corporate media offices to confirm have not yet been returned. UPDATE: Spokesman James Graham of Walgreen Co. has responded that the five products named in the NY AG's order have been removed from store shelves, and Target spokesman Evan Lapiska issued this statement: "We are partnering with our vendor to investigate the matters raised by the report and intend to cooperate fully with the Attorney General. While that investigation proceeds, Target will comply with the New York Attorney General’s request to pull these products, and will do so in all of our stores." Walmart has stopped selling the products in New York; it has released  this statement.

The three suits filed in Arkansas yesterday are   here  and  here.   Thrash said a suit against GNC is also being prepared and that the complaint against Walmart will be served today.

Thrash and his co-counsel in the herbal products suit — Marcus Bozeman and Ken Shemin of Fayetteville — are also representing Connie Stafford, who is suing Whole Foods Market California Inc. for labeling some of its products as “organic” or “all-natural” when they contain artificial ingredients. The suit was filed in circuit court, but federal Judge Leon Holmes ruled the case should be heard in federal court.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Heights Corner Market (nee Terry's) is open

    Heights Corner Market, in the space occupied by Terry's Finer Foods since time immemorial at 5018 Kavanaugh Blvd., is open and selling fresh flowers, produce (including locally grown food), meat, seafood, organic bath and body products and organic pet products from Stella's Barkery.
    • Mar 24, 2017
  • Ahoy! Blue Sail launches Saturday on Main Street

    Blue Sail Coffee Roasters opens its shop Saturday, March 25, in the Little Rock Technology Park, 417 Main St. The grand opening announcement says the shop will be in business at 7 a.m. and stay open until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Mo' MoMo

    Katmandu Momo, the food truck created by Nepal native Saroja Shrestha, will open a sit-down eatery in April in the River Market’s Ottenheimer Hall.
    • Mar 22, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • In defense of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights

    An op-ed in today's New York Time by Katha Pollitt says what I've been struggling to say about the reaction to the attack on women's reproductive rights launched by means of the undercover videos made by anti-abortion activists.
    • Aug 5, 2015
  • Lawyers plead for mercy in Fort Smith forum shopping case

    Twelve of the lawyers facing punishment by federal Judge P.K. Holmes in Fort Smith for moving a class action case against an insurance company out of his court to a state court where it was speedily settled have filed their argument against sanctions.
    • Jun 16, 2016
  • Matt Campbell files ethics complaint against Dennis Milligan

    Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, whose knack for deep research brought down Mark Darr, Mike Maggio and Dexter Suggs, now has his sights trained on another worthy target. Today, he filed a 113-page ethics complaint against state Treasurer Dennis Milligan that includes 14 separate allegations.
    • Aug 20, 2015

People who saved…

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation