Cactus-Drink Claims Debunked
If you’ve shelled out for pricey cactus concoctions in hopes of relieving inflammation and other ills, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says you got taken. TriVita, the maker of Nopalea cactus drink, agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle false-advertising claims. (The FTC regulates advertising, while the FDA governs product safety and labeling.) Nopalea infomercials, featuring former supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, made unsupported claims that the beverage improves breathing and relieves sinus infections and other respiratory conditions, and provides relief from pain, swelling of the joints and muscles, and psoriasis and other skin conditions. These claims were purported to be backed by clinical studies, which was false. People who appeared in the ads as supposedly ordinary consumer endorsers were in fact TriVita sales people.
“These kinds of unfounded claims are unacceptable, particularly when they impact consumers’ health,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Advertisers who cannot back up their claims with competent and reliable scientific evidence are violating the law.” Information on rebates for consumers who purchased Nopalea is pending court approval of the settlement, and will be posted at