Neurobrands LLC, the Santa Monica-based maker of the “Neuro” line of drinks, has agreed to a permanent court injunction that requires it to change its marketing practices. The company will also pay $500,000 in penalties and restitution as part of a settlement with local prosecutors.
The final court Judgment was approved and signed by Judge Lisa Hart Cole in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Santa Monica courthouse.
An investigation by the Santa Monica City Attorney and Los Angeles County District Attorney Offices led to a civil complaint alleging that the Neuro drinks in question lacked the necessary scientific evidence to back up many of the health-related claims advertised.
Neuro drinks currently come in four varieties: Neuro Sonic, Neuro Daily, Neuro Bliss and Neuro Sleep.
Neurobrands’ claims prohibited under the permanent injunction are:
- Supports memory
- Provides fuel for the brain
- Promotes healthy aging
- Provides mental energy
- Delivers sustained focus
- Strengthen your focus and creativity
- Daily dose of immunity
- Enhances mood
- Relieves muscle cramps
- Helps normalize sleep patterns
Under the terms of the judgment, Neurobrands will pay $500,000 in penalties and restitution. It also will be bound by a permanent court injunction that requires it to:
- Stop using the ad claims listed above, unless supported by new scientific evidence;
- Maintain “competent and reliable scientific evidence” to support all future health-related claims;
- Conduct additional scientific studies of its drinks to support future claims;
- Change the marketing and branding of Neuro Bliss, Neuro Daily, and Neuro Sonic to clarify that they are conventional beverages, not “dietary supplements”;
- Change the marketing and branding of Neuro Sleep to treat it as a true dietary supplement, not a beverage; and
- Assure that the caffeine level in Neuro Sonic conforms with FDA food safety requirements.
Neurobrands did not admit to any liability as part of the settlement.
“Words matter,” said Adam Radinsky, Santa Monica’s Chief Deputy City Attorney for Consumer Protection. “Especially as more and more people become concerned about what they eat and drink, a product’s health claims need to be fair and accurate,” said Radinsky. “If something is claimed to have health benefits, the manufacturer needs to back that up with reliable scientific evidence.”
“Consumers are not expected to be research scientists,” said Santa Monica Deputy City Attorney Eda Suh. “They’re entitled to rely on what they read and hear.”
Neurobrands was launched in 2007. The company has nationwide marketing and sales, including at many large supermarket and grocery chains. The company has used social media and catchy advertising campaigns to expand its sales.