Raid: Traco Labs, Inc. - November, 1988
Address: 205 S Main St. Seymour, IL 61875
Phone: (217) 687-2800 - Sid Tracy , President
Reason: FDA claimed that black currant oil was an unsafe food additive.
Outcome: FDA seized two drums of black currant oil as well as a large quantity of the capsulized product. On Jan. 28, 1993, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against FDA. The judge said that FDA's definition of food additive is too broad that even water added to food would be considered a food additive.
Raid: Pets Smell Free, Inc. - Summer, 1988
Address: 350 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
Phone: (801) 322-1221 - Mark Geiger
Reason: Product designed to prevent pets from giving off foul odor (also sold for fishtanks). FDA called it an unsafe, unapproved drug.
Outcome: Seized entire inventory and business records. PSF won in court several times but in July, 1994 FDA won on appeal, FDA wants PSF to sign a consent decree but they have refused.
Raid: The Life Extension Foundation - Feb 26, 1987
Address: PO Box 229120, Hollywood, FL 33022
Phone: (800) 333-2553 - John Hummell, Political Office
Reason: FDA alleged LEF was selling unapproved drugs (vitamins in U.S.) and life extension drugs from overseas companies.
Outcome: FDA seized $500,000 worth of vitamins, computers, files, newsletters, personal belongings. Phones were ripped out of the walls and employees terrorized. The foundation's leaders, Saul Kent and William Faloon, were indicted on 28 criminal counts with maximum prison time of 84 years in November, 1991. Case is still pending.
Raid: Highland Labs - Fall, 1990
Address: Box 199 Mt. Angel, OR 97362
Phone: (800) 547-0273 - Candy Scott
Reason: FDA claimed that product literature (with false claims) was being shipped with products to customers. FDA said these made COQ10 and GeOXY 132 unapproved drugs.
Outcome: After spending $250,000 in legal fees, defendent was forced to plead guilty to selling unapproved new drugs. Six months house arrest. $5,000 fine.
Raid: Hospital Santa Monica - May 12, 1993
Address: 738 Design Ct., Chula Vista, Ca. 91909
Phone: (619) 662-3010 - Kurt Donsbach
Reason: Hospital Santa Monica is an alternative cancer hospital in Mexico that competes with mainstream hospitals in the U.S. They were accused of distributing unapproved drugs. More than 50 federal agents with guns drawn raided the hospital office in San Deigo, seizing a tractor trailor of business records, patient charts, and computers. They also searched employees' homes and seized $80,000 found in the owner's safe. Over $300,000 was taken from the bank accounts of the hospital and two vitamin companies.
Outcome: Friends kept the Hospital afloat with cash gifts. The two vitamin companies were sold at a loss. Donsbach was forced into bankruptcy. No charges have been filed.
Raid: Natures Way - June 30, 1992
Address: 1375 N. Mountain Springs Parkway, Springville, Utah 84663
Phone: (800) 962-8873
Reason: The FDA seized a quantity of evening primrose oil, both encapsulated and in bulk, from this large manufacturer during a routine inspection. They also seized a truckload of primrose oil on the road. The FDA claimed it was an unapproved food additive.
Outcome: Nature's Way filed a lawsuit to get their product back, but was forced to remove the vitamin E from it because the FDA said that Vitamin E has not been approved as a food additive for evening primrose oil.
Raid: Family Acupuncture Clinic - Aug. 14, 1992
Address: 117 Granada, San Clememte, CA 92672
Phone: (714) 361-3976 - Richard Lee, Ph.D., Director
Reason: FDA seized $15,000 worth of Hsaio Yao Tea Pills in an attempt to strike back at acupuncturists who are taking a lot of business away from conventional doctors. FDA ignored California law, under which acupuncturists are licensed to practice medicine. FDA also ignored the fact that many insurance companies honor claims for acupuncture including Aetna, Prudential, and Blue Cross.
Outcome: The seized herbs were shipped back to China by the FDA after they had rotted. Dr. Lee is still in business.
Raid: Bursynski Research Clinic - Jul. 7, 1985
Address: 1200 Richmond Ave. #260 Houston, TX 77082
Phone: (713) 597-0111 - Dean Mouscher
Reason: Interstate shipping of antineoplastins (cancer therapy) NCI. Aetna insurance and others pressured FDA into raiding the Bursynski clinic.
Outcome: FDA seized 200,000 medical and research documents, forcing Burzynski to pay to make copies. No charges were filed.
Raid: Solid Gold Pet Foods - Sept., 1989
Address: 1483 N. Cuyamaca, El Cajon, CA 92020
Phone: (619) 465-9507 - Sissy Harrington McGill, Owner
Reason: FDA had been harassing McGill over labels on her holistic pet food products. In March 1990, an FDA agent seized products from her store without a search warrant and shut down her store. On July 12, 1990, after being indicted, she chose a jury trial. Upon appearing for her trial, she was clapped into leg irons, put into a Maximum Security Federal Prison for 179 days, and fined $10,000. While incarcerated she suffered a near fatal stroke.
Outcome: McGill sued the Department of Justice and won a victory on Feb. 20, 1992. She expects to file a $25,000,000 lawsuit against the FDA.
Raid: H.A. Lyons mailing Service - Oct. 16, 1990
Address: Driven out of business. Formerly in Phoenix, AZ
Reason: Mailing literature on behalf of vitamin companies with no advance warning. Five armed agents backed by an armed policeman raided this home-based business run by a young woman.
Outcome: The owner convinced the agents not to seize her checkbook and cash. They did seize all her business records and literature. No charges were filed.
Raid: Nutricology, Inc. - May 9, 1991
Address: 400 Preda Ave. San Leandro, CA 94577
Phone: (800) 545-9960 - Stephen A. Levine, Ph.D., owner
Reason: FDA raided Nutricology, seized their bank accounts and shut them down for 2 days, charging them with wire fraud, mail fraud, selling unapproved drugs, unsafe food additives, and misbranded drugs. Twelve armed agents conducted an exhaustive search of the company's offices and warehouse.
Outcome: On May 23, 1991 Federal Judge D. Lowell Jensen denied the FDA's request for a Preliminary Injunction. On Sep. 10, 1991, the FDA appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but was again denied. On Sep. 23, 1993, Judge Jensen denied the FDA's motion for summary judgement and granted Nutricology's motion to eliminate the wire and mail fraud charges.
Raid: Scientific Botanicals - Fall 1991
Address: 8003 Roosevelt Ave. NE 98115
Phone: (206) 527-5521
Reason: Alleged labeling violations. FDA seized herbal extract products and literature sent to physicians. FDA forced the company to stop using its patented trade names lest they "mislead the consumer."
Outcome: FDA slowly released all seized products, forcing the company to comply with all demands under threat of being shut down. Company refuses to talk about their case for fear of reprisal.
Raid: Thorne Research - Dec. 12, 1991
Address: 901 Triangle Dr. Sand Point, Idaho 83864
Phone: (208) 263-1337 - Al Czap, Owner
Reason: FDA claimed that vitamin products sold by company were "unapproved drugs." FDA agent and three U.S. Marshalls seized the company's entire stock of $20,000 worth of products and 11,000 pieces of literature intended for physicians.
Outcome: Thorne initially notified District Court that it would fight, but gave up as the expiration date on the seized products was approaching and it became too expensive to continue. The company no longer publishes any literature.
Raid: Tahoma Clinic, Dr. Jonathan Wright - May 6, 1992
Address: 24030 132nd Ave. S.E., Kent, WA 98042
Phone: (206) 631-9681 - Harry Mills, P.R.
Reason: After L-tryptophan was banned, Dr. Jonathan Wright continued to prescribe it. The FDA raided him and seized his supply of tryptophan. Dr. Wright filed suit. The FDA retaliated by storming into Wright's clinic with armed sheriffs who terrorized employees and seized vitamins and other natural therapies, allergy screening equipment, computers, bank records, his mailing list, and medical records.
Outcome: In Oct. 1992, Wright filed suit in district court charging unlawful search and seizure and demanded his property back. In response, the FDA convened a Federal Grand Jury and subpoened Wright's clinic records. No charges have yet been filed.
Raid: Ye Seekers - June 1992
Address: 1221 Blalock, Houston, TX 77055
Phone: (713) 461-0857 -Matt Malick, Vitamin Supervisor
Reason: In Feb. 1992, Texas health authorities acting under the direction of the FDA seized 50 products from several health food stores in Texas including Ye Seekers. Then in June, they seized more than 250 products including aloe vera, zinc, flax seed oil, herb teas, vitamin C and coenzyme Q-10.
Outcome: Although more than 410 products were seized, the stores haven't filed suit for fear of reprisals. Ye Seekers noted that Ginsana was seized from them at the same time it was being advertised on the Larry King TV show.
Raid: Mihai Popescu - June 2, 1992
Address: Out of business - owner in Metro Detention Center in LA.
Phone: (213) 933-6825
Reason: FDA claims that Gerovital (GH-3), which Popescu was selling, is an "unapproved drug." Eight FDA and customs agents raided Popescul's house with guns drawn, holding his 8-month pregnant wife and 83-year-old grandfather at gun point for 10 hours.
Outcome: They seized his computer and business records and $5,000 worth of GH-3. Popescu has been in prison for 8 months and expects to be released in 3 months.
Raid: Natural Vision International (NVI)
Address: Driven out of business - formerly in Manitowoc, WI
Phone: Talked to an administrator at Holiday House at (414) 682-4663
Reason: Opticians and ophthalmologists pressured FDA into an armed raid of NVI with two federal marshals to seize 17,000 pairs of pinhole glasses, which exercise and strengthen the eyes. The charge was that NVI had failed to file a premarket application with FDA. NVI notes that a pinhole is not a lens.
Outcome: Despite the fact that NVI submitted hundreds of testimonials from satisfied customers, the FDA drove them out of business by not returning their stock of over $200,000 worth of pin hole glasses.
Raid: Kirwin Whitnah - May 12, 1993
Address: Driven out of business. Formerly in Middletown, CA
Phone: (707) 928-1915
Reason: Whitnah was promoting the sale of deprenyl. The FDA considered this "selling an unapproved drug." His house was raided at gun point when he wasn't home, terrorizing a woman staying at the house. They found no deprenyl. They seized his computer, business records, mailing list, literature, and $4,500 in money orders.
Outcome: No charges were filed, but Whitnah was driven out of business.
Raid: Waco Natural Foods - May 14, 1993
Address: 1424 Lake Air Dr. Waco TX 76710
Phone: (817) 772-5743 -Tom Wiggins
Reason: The FDA was looking for deprenyl citrate, a nontoxic supplement. They entered the store with a search warrant wearing plain clothes. They searched for 4 hours and seemed most interested in possible links to businesses in the Seattle area.
Outcome: As soon as Mr. Wiggins, the owner, told the FDA that his attorney was a well known defender and prior District Attorney in the WACO area, they apologized for the raid and left with some documents. No charges were filed and the store hasn't been raided since.
Raid: International Nutrition Inc - Jun 24 1993 and Aug. 3, 1993
Address: PO Box 1644 Santa Theresa, NM 88008
Phone: (800) 535-6442 -G.S. Odin
Reason: Alleged "misbranding" of "illegal drugs" led five FDA agents, a Federal Marshall, and a PR specialist to enter with video cameras (instead of guns) in an effort to prevent a public backlash. FDA seized $1,000,000 worth of vitamin raw materials and products formulated by Dr. Hans Nieper of Germany. Also seized were computers and business records.
Outcome: INI has lost 80 percent of its business since the raid and had to lay off 80% of its work force. No court date has been set.
Raid: Zerbo's Health Food Store - May 1993
Address: 34164 Plymouth Rd., Livonia, MI 48150
Reason: Reason for the raid was the alleged distribution by 78-year-old Mr. Zerbo of GH-3 to special customers. Armed U.S. Marshalls and FDA agents cleaned off shelves of coenzyme Q-10, selenium, carnitine, and GH-3. Mr. Zerbo and his daughter Claire, who manages the store, were indicted on charges of "illegal drug trafficking."
Outcome: Claire Zerbo wanted to fight her indictment, but chose not to do so because the FDA threatened her aging, 78-year-old father who has Parkinson's Disease with 7 years in prison. Because of her fear that her father would die in prison, they both pleaded guilty. Claire will likely receive 3 months probation. Her father is unlikely to go to prison for more than 4 months.
In 1993, the FDA announced that your right to purchase coenzyme Q10, selenium, amino acids, herbals and high potency vitamins would be taken away by the end of the year. Twenty-four million Americans (including many of you) responded to the FDA's threat by inundating Congress with letters, faxes and phone calls that caused the FDA to back away completely from its proposed ban on importation of these disease-preventing nutrients.
When you voice your protests to these FDA officials (and Congress), ...you can tell
them to obey the law..., the new Dietary Supplement and Education Act requires that the
FDA give anyone who they plan to take enforcement action against at least 10 days notice
and the opportunity to present their views bafore taking action.