The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced an injunction against Wilderness Family Naturals LLC of Silver Bay, Minnesota, citing unapproved disease treatment claims on the company’s labels.
By the “unapproved-disease-treatment-claims” standard, the American public should expect a continued flurry of injunctions through the year 2045 and a complete grinding to a halt of late-night television, unless the “Girls Gone Wild” leadership can step up and create even more freaky Caribbean drum music to go with its video snippets and their frustratingly positioned black no-no bars.
But I digress. The company is by no means being shut down, but was forced to sign a consent decree barring it from doing what it hitherto has done, which is to tout its products as being effective in the treatment of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV and AIDS, and arthritis. WFN, in fact, can keep right on making the same shit, if I understand things correctly; they just can’t make the same outrageous claims about them. My thinking is that anyone deluded or desperate enough to buy an OTC herbal for cancer or AIDS in the first place isn’t going to abandon the product merely because the big bad wolf stepped in and messed with some words on the label. In fact, many may never notice. So WFN isn’t likely to lose any existing customers, although hopefully it will suffer a massive drop-off in future ones.
I took a spin around the company’s Web site, and it offers no hint that WFN has taken a legal kick in the balls, although vendors hit with suits and the like usually manage to avoid the scuttling of content or back-pedaling. It just looks like any other woo-vendor’s page. At present the featured product is virgin coconut oil, of which there are various kinds. I’m not sure what the rest of us are supposed to cook with.
Also large on the front page are extra virgin olive oil and organic mayonnaise. Standard stuff, except that the mayo costs about ten bucks a pint. Why? Because it tastes good. According to the site, it’s blend of oils “create a “very distinctive, natural flavor and the blend creates a product unlike any other mayonnaise on the market.”
The only other product I clicked on was French dressing, because I happen to like French dressing and, having established a baseline in terms of mark-up from store brand, I wanted to see how accurately I could guess its cost.
I usually get a pint of salad dressing for two bucks. So I was guessing that the WFN brand would be $10.99, because of, you know, all of those tasty oils, not to mention authentic herbs and a tantalizing…OK, let’s just check the price. Well, I was close! $6.95 per 12-ounce bottle is about $9.25 a pint. These guys aren’t as bourgeoisie as I thought!
So basically, stripped of the latitude to engage in egregious false advertising, we appear to be left with nothing more than an online condiment store boasting a ridiculously overpriced inventory. The lesson here is that woo-woo is never a product itself, but a claim about that product. There’s nothing wrong with eating organic mustard as long as it’s not poisoning you, but if you’re spending $15 per jar, you should at least feel confident that your motivation for choosing the brand has been informed my reliable, credible sources.