Homemark Remedy Health Detox Foot Patches: ARB Ruling

, ,

Posted 30 November 2020

A complaint was laid with the Advertising Regulatory Board against the claims being made for this product.

Complainant: Dr Harris Steinman
Advertiser: Homemark (Pty) Ltd
Consumer/Competitor: Consumer
File reference: 1085 – Homemark Remedy Health Detox Foot Patches – Dr Harris Steinman
Outcome: Upheld
Date: 24 November 2020

The Directorate of the Advertising Regulatory Board has been called on to consider a complaint by Dr Harris Steinman against Homemark’s website advertising promoting its “Remedy Health Detox Foot Patches”. The relevant advertising is accessible via https://homemark.co.za/collections/remedy-health/products/remedy-health-detox-foot-patches.

Description of the Advertising

The advertising notes, inter alia, that “The Remedy Health Detox Pads are used on the feet according to the Chinese tradition of foot reflexology. Detox patches are said to stimulate nerve endings on the bottom of your feet and improving energy flow and resolve circulation to problem areas of the body, clearing toxins build-up and enabling elimination of waste”.

Under a heading “Benefits of Remedy Health Detox Foot Patches” it lists the following:

  • “It improves blood circulation & cleansing.
  • Helps to reduce swelling in the body and assists in boosting the immune system.
  • With natural ingredients, there are no side-effects.
  • Easy application & safe to
  • Detox foot pads work while you
  • Tested in an FDA certified laboratory
  • Each Remedy Blue Detox Box contains 10 patches; enough for 5 applications”.

Complaint

The Complainant argued that the highly regarded “Mayo Clinic” states on its website at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/detox- foot-pads/faq-20057807 that “There’s no reliable evidence that detox foot pads work” and that “… no scientific studies have been published that show that detox foot pads work or that they’re safe. The Federal Trade Commission has even charged some distributors of detox foot pads with deceptive advertising”.

The Complainant added that he contacted the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), specifically its Division of Small Manufacturers, International and Consumer Assistance (“DSMICA”) to query the advertised claim that these products were “Tested in an FDA certified laboratory facility”. The DSMICA confirmed that the FDA did not certify laboratories, and that there was no facility registered under the number provided by the Complainant. It added that the product in question was simply registered as a “medical absorbent fibre”, and not a “Detox Foot Pad” (which would require a different type of registration).

Citing writeups appearing on https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/, the Complainant submitted that “Detox” products are essentially a scam, and that these products cannot deliver on any efficacy claims. The advertising is clearly aimed at deceiving consumers. 

Response

The Advertiser did not respond to the ARB’s request for comment. It should be noted, however, that in prior disputes before the ARB, the advertiser confirmed that it was not a member of the ARB and that it had no intention to engage in any correspondence with the ARB.

Application of the Code of Advertising Practice

The Complainant identified Clause 4.1 of Section II (Substantiation) as relevant to this dispute.

Decision

Having considered all the material before it, the Directorate of the ARB issues the following finding.

Jurisdiction

The Advertiser submitted no response in this matter. However, the Directorate notes that the Advertiser had previously indicated that it was not a member of the ARB and that it would not engage in correspondence with the ARB. Given that no response was received after the deadline stipulated in the ARB’s correspondence with the Advertiser, it is assumed that the Advertiser opted not to respond to this dispute.

The ARB’s Memorandum of Incorporation of the ARB states:

“3.3 The Company has no jurisdiction over any person or entity who is not a member and may not, in the absence of a submission to its jurisdiction, require non-members to participate in its processes, issue any instruction, order or ruling against the non-member or sanction it. However, the Company may consider and issue a ruling to its members (which is not binding on non-members) regarding any advertisement regardless of by whom it is published to determine, on behalf of its members, whether its members should accept any advertisement before it is published or should withdraw any advertisement if it has been published.”

In other words, if you are not a member and do not submit to the jurisdiction of the ARB, the ARB will consider and rule on your advertising for the guidance of its members.

The ARB will rule on whatever is before it when making a decision for the guidance of its members. This ruling will be binding only on ARB members and on broadcasters in terms of the Electronic Communications Act.

The ARB will therefore proceed to consider this matter for the guidance of its members.

Merits

The Complainant essentially submitted that “… the claims for this product are capable of objective proof and are unsubstantiated and false”. His submissions included direct reference to certain advertising claims, and relied (in part) on statements made by other medical professionals who challenge any implied efficacy for “detox” products. He also relied on the fact that the FDA’s DSMICA denied any product or laboratory certification as claimed in the advertising.

Clause 4.1 of Section II expects advertisers to hold independent substantiation for any and all claims which are capable of objective verification. The Directorate is satisfied that the following claims, which are referenced in the complainant and appear in the advertising, are capable of substantiation in accordance with Clause 4.1 of Section II:

  • Detox patches are said to stimulate nerve endings on the bottom of your feet and improving energy flow and resolve circulation to problem areas of the body, clearing toxins build-up and enabling elimination of waste”,
  • “It improves blood circulation & cleansing”,
  • “Helps to reduce swelling in the body and assists in boosting the immune system”,
  • “With natural ingredients, there are no side-effects”,
  • “Easy application & safe to use”,
  • “Detox foot pads work while you sleep”,
  • “Tested in an FDA certified laboratory facility”.

When motivating his complaint, the Complainant referenced, inter alia, a statement from Dr Brent A Bauer obtained on the Mayo Clinic website. This statement pertinently states that there is no evidence that such products work, and that no published studies have shown any efficacy or safety. Similar statements debunking the notion that humans require “detox”, and noting that some detox methods are dangerous, were referenced as

they appeared on www.sciencebasedmedicine.org (published by Dr Steven Novella and Dr David Gorski).

The Complainant also referenced correspondence with an FDA representative, who appears to contradict the notion that the product was tested in an FDA certified laboratory facility.

These  appear  to  present  compelling  arguments  against  the  claims  made  on      the

Advertiser’s website.

The Advertiser, however, submitted no evidence, has not disputed the Complainant’s allegation, and has put nothing before the Directorate to validate or support these claims.

In the absence of any evidence to support these claims, the Directorate has no alternative but to find that they are in breach of the provisions of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

Sanctions

Members of the ARB and broadcasters are advised not to accept advertising from the

Advertiser for its “Remedy Health Detox Foot Patches” with the following claims:

  • “Detox patches are said to stimulate nerve endings on the bottom of your feet and improving energy flow and resolve circulation to problem areas of the body, clearing toxins build-up and enabling elimination of waste”,
  • “It improves blood circulation & cleansing”,
  • “Helps to reduce swelling in the body and assists in boosting the immune system”,
  • “With natural ingredients, there are no side-effects”,
  • “Easy application & safe to use”,
  • “Tested in an FDA certified laboratory facility”. 

, ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.