What do you get when you start promising people that your water cures viral infections, lowers cholesterol and heals the brain? If you're the CEO of Lithia Mineral Water, Inc. you get yourself an official warning letter from the US Food and Drug Administration.
This morning the agency made a copy of its July 20, 2012, warning letter to Lithia Mineral Water and the company's CEO Ian Simpson public. In it we see some pretty bold claims. Consider these promises, which inspectors say they found on the company's website, lithiamineralwater.com:
- Lower LDL Cholesterol
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Heal the Brain
- Combating Infections
Lithia certainly isn't shy about going after the seriously or chronically ill either. Some of the diseases and conditions it claims to be beneficial for include:
- Bi-Polar Disorder
The FDA (of course) says that Lithia Mineral Water is neither safe nor effective for any of those conditions. And even if it was, the water would still be deemed "misbranded" because Parkinson's, caner and those other conditions aren't the kinds of things the average person can accurately diagnose or successfully treat with home remedies, anyway.
The company was also warned about "testimonials" agents say they found on the website. One supposed customer recommends it for arthritis; another, for autism in children.
And the company was also warned for referencing a scientific study on lithium as a segue to suggesting that minerals in Lithia might also be beneficial for dementia and other conditions.
Finally, the company was warned for simply trying to hawk water as a dietary supplement in the first place. Bottled water is already covered under the agency's "conventional food" umbrella--it can't also be a dietary supplement. (There's also some question about the "silver" claim but the FDA is giving Lithia a few days to respond to that one.)
The FDA closed its lengthy warning letter to Lithia Mineral Water, Inc. by reminding the company's CEO that this letter is not intended to be a full list of all the potential violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that the product could be committing. The company has the standard 15 working days to address the agency's allegations.
As of my visit to the company's website this afternoon I found the site's front page still bearing claims like "increases human life span," "stimulates brain cell growth" and "reduces depression". A case of 12 bottles of Lithia Mineral Water is currently selling on Amazon.com for nearly $30.