National Advertising Division Recommends Dakota Nutrition Discontinue Claims that Dietary Supplements Contain Elderberry


NEW YORK, June 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that Dakota Nutrition, Inc. discontinue challenged express and implied claims that its dietary supplements contain the ingredient elderberry. This recommendation applies to marketing claims for three products: Extra Strength Elderberry 3-in-1 Immune Booster Capsules, Extra Strength Elderberry Gummies, and Immune Defense 7-in-1 Immune Booster Capsules.

The claims, which appeared on Dakota’s website, Amazon product pages, and on product labels were challenged by Nature’s Way Brands, LLC. NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinues the challenged claims, which included:

  • “elderberry capsules”
  • “elderberry gummies”
  • “black elderberry extract (150mg)”
  • “150mg elderberry per serving”
  • “150mg of Black Elderberry”
  • “150mg of Sambucus Nigra Extract”
  • “elderberries are very high in antioxidants”
  • “extra strength antioxidant”
  • Elderberries are present in Dakota Nutrition’s products at advertised dosages.

Consumer demand for elderberry, which has a long history of use as a cold and flu remedy, has increased since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. European elderberry (“Sambucus Nigra”) is an ingredient native to Europe and is distinguished from American elderberry (“Sambucus Canadensis”) based on its anthocyanin profile.

NAD considered the evidence provided by the advertiser in support of its claims relating to the presence and quantity of elderberry in its products. NAD determined that Dakota did not have a reasonable basis for the challenged claims that its Elderberry Capsules, Elderberry Gummies, or Immune Capsules contain elderberry. In addition, NAD noted that Dakota did not submit any support for the claims that elderberries are antioxidants or that they contain certain amounts of antioxidants.

Further, NAD determined that the word “elderberry” in the challenged product names, Elderberry Capsules and Elderberry Gummies, is an express claim that the products contain meaningful amounts of the named ingredient. However, the advertiser’s evidence did not provide a reasonable basis for claims related to the presence of elderberry in these products. Accordingly, NAD recommended that Dakota discontinue the use of the term elderberry in the name of its Elderberry Capsules and Elderberry Gummies.

During the proceeding, the advertiser informed NAD that it had permanently discontinued several challenged disease treatment and prevention claims. Therefore, NAD did not review these claims on the merits.

In its advertiser statement, Dakota stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s standards recommendations,” although it “respectfully disagrees with NAD’s rejection of raw material testing” of botanical ingredients, which it believes “should be sufficient to satisfy NAD.” The advertising advertiser further stated that it “supports the self-regulatory process and will abide by NAD recommendations in the future.”

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

About BBB National Programs:

BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Advertising Division:

The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the US NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaning protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.

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