FTC, FDA: Supplement Maker Made False Claims

The Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration announced charges yesterday against Seasilver USA Inc. and Americaloe Inc. of promoting the dietary supplement Seasilver with unsubstantiated medical claims.

The FTC alleged that the two Carlsbad, CA, companies; their principals, Bela and Jason Berkes; and also Brett Rademacher and David R. Friedman promoted Seasilver as a treatment for 650 diseases including AIDS and cancers. The FDA has seized inventories of the product.

The FTC said the defendants promote Seasilver through national television and radio infomercials, Web sites at www.seasilver.com and www.myseasilver.com/main, e-mail and a 28-page brochure. A 32-oz. bottle of Seasilver costs $39.95.

U.S. District Court in Nevada issued a temporary restraining order June 13 prohibiting the defendants from making the challenged claims and freezing their assets. In addition, the FTC seeks restitution to consumers who bought the product.

On June 17, U.S. marshals seized 132,480 bottles of Seasilver, worth nearly $5.3 million, from Seasilver USA's headquarters.

Seasilver USA also has had sanitation problems at its manufacturing facility, the FTC said, and was cited in December by the FDA for using equipment that could not be properly cleaned and allowing employees to work in street clothes rather than garments to protect against contamination.

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