Diet Pill Deception: US and Canada Team Up To Fight False Diet Pill Claims

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FatFoe...it's a catchy name, and in fact, it's designed to "catch" websurfers who are looking for a quick weight loss fix or miracle diet pill. But these aren't con artists who are perpetrating a scam on naive consumers--they're bureaucrats from a pair of government agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

At first glance the diet pill site, FatFoe, site promises results that seem too good to be true.

In fact they're not.

So why would two watchdog agencies of the US and Canadian governments put up a fake website purports to sell a "dream" diet pill? The diet pill, called ‘FatFoe', claims users can lose up to 10 pounds a week without exercising and while still eating their favorite fatty foods.

‘FatFoe' doesn't exist, claims made on the website are impossible.

Once the user clicks on the link, they learn it's all part of an campaign by the USDA and Canada's Competition Bureau

to warn customers off such "pie-in-the-diet-sky products.

The USDA and the Competition Bureau hope that websurfers searching for diet pills will stumble across the site, and learn a lesson.

This "red flag" campaign began in February 2003, initially to make the media aware of claims that should make it question the efficacy of an advertised product:

A similar campaign in November 2004 ‘Operation Big Fat Lie',resulted in legal action against a number of companies that made at least one of the "red flag" claims in advertising.

The Federal Trade Commission has since hiot a number of companies with big penalties hefty penalties in connection with the campaign.

The campaigns appear to be working. In April of 2005, a survey by the FTC revealed that the number of obviously false weight-loss claims for dietary supplements, creams and patches fell dramatically, from 50 percent in 2001 to just 15 percent in 2004.

For additional information, and a list of "red flag" claims all consumers should ignore, go to http://www.diet-pill.name

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George McKenzie