TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Thursday January 17, 2002 (AP) - General Nutrition Centers, a leading seller of vitamins and dietary supplements, will offer refunds and pay Florida $1 million to settle allegations that some vitamins it sold lacked potency because they were too old.
Investigators in Attorney General Bob Butterworth's office said they had found vitamins as much as seven years old on GNC shelves.
State officials said they didn't think any of the products were dangerous, but accused the Pittsburgh-based chain of deceptive practices, saying that the company was engaged in false advertising because the vitamins would be weaker than promised on their labels.
Butterworth said GNC had cooperated with the investigation and agreed to encourage manufacturers and suppliers to put expiration dates on products. For products that don't have expiration dates, the company agreed to determine a stability period and remove them from shelves after that time expires.
“Our concern from the beginning was whether GNC customers were getting the fresh, full-potency products they were promised,” Butterworth said Thursday. “This agreement establishes corporate policies to make sure they do.”
The company will pay $1 million to cover the cost of the state's investigation, which came after a tip that old products were being sold at some GNC stores in Florida. The company will also give replacements or refunds to customers with out-of-date products.