The Orange County District Attorney’s office is part of the California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force that settled a consumer protection action Tuesday against Goop, Inc., Gwyneth Paltrow’s “lifestyle brand” that pushes vitamins, dietary supplements and products that supposedly improve women’s vaginas.
Goop advertised that its Jade Egg and Rose Quartz Egg could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse and increase bladder control, while its Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend prevents depression.
But those claims “were not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence,” according to an OCDA statement.
A January 2017 Goop post titled “Jade Eggs for Your Yoni” claimed that putting the $66 product in your vagina for hours at a time could improve your sex life, balance your menstrual cycle and “intensify feminine energy,” among other things. It quickly sold out.
However, the post also prompted some of the nation’s leading gynecologists to warn that jade eggs could get stuck in vaginas and cause nasty bacteria–including the kind that lead to toxic shock syndrome or bacterial vaginosis–to get lodged in nooks and crannies, according to a Health magazine report.
Consumer advocacy group Truth in Advertising sent a letter to the FDMD task force in April regarding more than 50 health claims made by Goop as dangerous and false. Besides Orange County, the FDMD task force is composed of prosecutors from Alameda, Marin, Napa, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Solano and Shasta counties.
Under terms of the $145,000 settlement–which is based on sales of the products in California–Goop is “barred from making any claims regarding the efficacy of its products without possessing competent and reliable scientific evidence, and from manufacturing or selling any misbranded, unapproved, or falsely-advertised medical devices,” according to the OCDA statement.
“It’s important to hold companies accountable for unsubstantiated claims, especially when the claims have the potential to affect women’s health,” says District Attorney Tony Rackauckas in the statement.
“While Goop believes there is an honest disagreement about these claims, the company wanted to settle this matter quickly and amicably,” announced Paltrow’s brand in a statement of its own.
Goop has promised to refund the full purchase price to any consumer who purchased the Jade Egg, Rose Quartz Egg, and/or Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend on or between Jan. 12 and Aug. 31 of 2017. Eligible consumers must request a refund by emailing or emailing Goop customer service at email@example.com or calling 1.844.WTF.GOOP (983-4667).
This is not the first time Goop has walked back statements about a product after government scrutiny. In June 2017, a Goop blog post promoted wearable stickers called Body Vibes that were claimed to “re-balance the energy frequency in our bodies” and to be “made with the same conductive carbon material NASA uses to line space suits so they can monitor an astronaut’s vitals during wear.”
However, NASA denied that they had “any conductive carbon material lining” their spacesuits, and Goop pulled the claim from its website and the Body Vibes manufacturer issued a statement through Gizmodo saying, “We apologize to NASA, Goop, our customers and our fans for this communication error. We never intended to mislead anyone. We have learned that our engineer was misinformed by a distributor about the material in question, which was purchased for its unique specifications.”
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.