The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have filed suit against several defendants responsible for selling the beverage branded ‘Earth Tea,’ alleging they made health claims related to preventing and curing COVID-19 without scientific proof. Thursday’s complaint seeks both civil penalties and a permanent injunction barring Brooklyn-based B4B Earth Tea LLC, B4B Corp., and its owner, Andrew Martin (Busta) Sinclair from further consumer deception.
The Eastern District of New York complaint asserts that the defendants sell Earth Tea for $60 per 16-ounce bottle to consumers nationwide online and via social media platforms. The filing points to evidence that since April 2020, Sinclair and his two companies have made unverified claims about the tea’s efficacy without any valid evidence.
“Defendants purport to possess anecdotal evidence from customers, and they also rely on a 15-person purported study that Defendants state was conducted in India. Neither the purported anecdotal reports nor this small, unpublished study suffices as competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the claimed health benefits,” the agencies’ joint complaint says.
The filing duplicates advertisements made by Earth Tea, including one claiming that “Our Clinical Trial was successful. So successful we are offering a Money Back Guarantee against covid-19 if 2 bottles do not get you negative you will get your money back.” In another Instagram advertisement, the defendants allegedly stated “Vaccines trial shows preventing hospitalization is 85%-96% while so far Earth Tea Extra Strength is 100% we have helped people who are vaccinated. No one who was positive and used Earth Tea went to the hospital.”
The lawsuit states claims for violations of the FTC Act, the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.