Landmark Health Claims Prosecution
Heavy penalty after Public Analysts highlight 149 illegal claims.
In October this year the company Well-Beeing UK Limited and its sole director Mr Paul Southern pleaded guilty to nine offences under the Nutrition and Health Claim Regulations in relation to the sale of Royal Jelly in a prosecution taken by Trafford Council backed by Public Analysts in Staffordshire and Lancashire.
The prosecution is thought to the first of its kind in Europe.
Mr Southern received a sentence of 8 months custody suspended for 12 months, plus 250 hours community service for offences. He was also fined £300 fine per offence (£2700) for the Company. Trafford were awarded £800 costs.
The Barrister representing Trafford stated that this was a very harsh sentence. Their website has links to newspaper reports on the case.
Officers in Trafford first became aware of the websites http://www.wellbee-ing.com and https://www.royaljellyinhoney.co.uk in 2012.
The sites promoted the alleged health benefits of consumption of royal jelly and made numerous claims which were health claims as defined by the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulations (England) 2007.
Over the course of several years Public Analysts in Staffordshire and Lancashire identified many unauthorized health claims on the websites but despite a vast amount of time and effort by the officer in Trafford Council the websites were not satisfactorily amended and eventually prosecution was the last resort.
It is fair to say that the case would not have been taken without the tenacity of the officer involved at Trafford Council but the Public Analysts’ technical knowledge and detailed knowledge of the substances for which claims were made were invaluable in helping the prosecution to succeed.
In particular the Barrister requested that the Lancashire Public Analyst provided a detailed report on the requirements of the Regulations, their application to the claims made on the sites and the number of unauthorised claims present on the sites. In the opinion of the Public Analyst there were at least 149 unauthorised claims (of these the prosecution proceeded with nine).