Supplement claim false, P.E.I. company admits
A Prince Edward Island company has acknowledged one of the nutritional supplements it makes was sold to Canadians over the internet with a false claim regarding its origin.
Fortius Canada of Charlottetown makes DistilPure MSM, a sulphur supplement. The label and internet advertising say it is sourced from "natural pine trees." Following questions raised by a CBC investigation, Fortius now says that claim is "untrue" and it has taken steps to fix the problem.
CBC bought Distilpure MSM and had it analyzed by a carbon-dating lab after a supplements consultant named Theo Sakoutis questioned whether the product supplied by Fortius lived up to its natural source claim. Sakoutis had also had the product tested.
"There's something wrong here. The lab results prove this is a fake product and whatever it is, it's not from pine trees."
Carbon dating on the product showed it had not been made from any recently living material, that is, that it had come from a petrochemical source.
Unaware of advertising
Alan Andreason, CEO of Fortius Canada, says its customer Rain Nutrience of the U.K., which was the retailer for the product, was responsible for the natural pine tree claims on the DistilPure website and product label.
Andreason and his brother are also directors of Rain Nutrience, but Andreason said he had limited knowledge of how the product was sold.
"We were aware the statement was made, 'pine tree source,' but we were not familiar with how firm and how potentially convincing that information is coming across to the consumer," he said.
"Now that we know that, we are definitely taking corrective action so that misleading information is corrected."
Andreason said Fortius has been in touch with the U.K. company to demand it destroy product labels and correct website advertising telling consumers DistilPure MSM is made from pine trees.
DistilPure MSM is just one of a number of products made by Fortius Canada, which exports millions of dollars worth of nutritional supplements each year.