Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a Big Green California company, is an outspoken advocate of the scientifically suspect “GMO labeling” movement. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Bronner’s should spend more time worrying about their own labels.
For starters, its product—Magic Soaps’ “All-One!” Fresh-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil—is allegedly an unauthorized drug. In a warning letter to the company, the FDA states: “Based on our review of the product label, we have determined that your product is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug under section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act…” New drugs need FDA approval — they have to be safe and actually work — before they can be put on the market, and the coconut oil never received this authorization.
The label also suggests that the product is intended “for use in mitigating, treating, or preventing…coronary heart disease.” But according to the FDA, these conditions are “not amendable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners; therefore, adequate directions for use cannot be written so that a layperson can use this drug safely for its intended use.” The feds allege that this makes the product “misbranded.”
This is a divine irony, because Dr. Bronner’s claims to be a champion of “accurate” consumer information. Specifically, the company has bankrolled campaigns to legislate mandatory labels on products containing genetically improved foods (GIFs). The company ostentatiously supports these pro-label initiatives as means of providing transparency and defending consumers’ so-called “right to know.”
Clarification: A previous version of this post mistakenly stated that the coconut oil contained trans fat, based on the FDA’s statement that “Dr. Bronner’s Magic “All-One!” Fresh-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil product is misbranded within the meaning of section 403(q) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(q)] in that the label fails to include a declaration of trans fat as required by 21 CFR 101.9(c)(2)(ii)” and an article in Food Safety News. Since receiving the warning letter, Dr. Bronner’s says it has included the amount of trans fat – zero – on its labeling.