Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop products have been taken to task over 113 ‘unproven’ claims
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop brand has been taken to task over 113 ‘unproven’ claims about its products, including a pregnancy supplement containing vitamin A that is ‘potentially dangerous’ to expectant mothers.
Good Thinking Society, a non-profit organisation that promotes scientific scepticism, highlighted The Mother Load, a vitamin supplement that can be taken by pregnant women, among a comprehensive list of Goop’s alleged breaches of UK advertising laws.
The product, which retails for £88, is described as ‘a top-of-the-line natal protocol’, which can be taken prior to conception and while pregnant – even though it contains 110 per cent of the ‘daily value’ of Vitamin A recommended for adults.
The Department of Health, NHS and British Dietetic Association all advise against pregnant women taking supplements containing vitamin A.
This view is shared by the World Health Organisation, which states: ‘In view of evidence suggesting that high levels of vitamin A may cause birth defects, women who are (or may become) pregnant are advised not to take vitamin A supplements (including tablets and fish liver oil drops), except on the advice of a doctor or an antenatal clinic.’
In response to the complaint, Dr Susan Beck, senior vice president of science and research at Goop, denied the vitamins were unsafe.
‘When used as recommended, goop’s the Mother Load supplements are safe during pregnancy.
‘The Mother Load contains a very moderate 450mcg (1500 IU) of vitamin A (preformed vitamin A as retinyl palmitate), which is less than the recommended daily intake of 600mcg per day (per NHS).
‘The 4,000 IU beta-carotene included in Mother Load is only converted in the body to vitamin A as needed, and there is no safety concern for eating this, as there would be no safety concern for eating a large number of carrots containing beta-carotene.
‘The Mother Load package contains a warning that pregnant women should not consume more than 10,000 IU vitamin A daily due to risk of birth defects.’
A complaint was also raised by the charity in relation to an article appearing on Goop’s website in relation to using sun creams.
The article states: ‘In fact, there’s little evidence to support the (many) claims that sunscreen helps prevent cancer.
The Mother Load vitamin supplement contains 110% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A – despite warnings from the NHS and WHO against pregnant women taking it
‘The National Cancer Institute reports that the rate of new melanoma cases has tripled since the 1970s; sunscreen use has increased dramatically over those years, so the rates should have gone down, not up.’
Elsewhere, Good Thinking Society has raised concerns over Goop’s Psychic Vampire Repellent, which retails for £27.
The site claims: ‘Spray around the aura to protect from psychic attack’.
The Mother Load supplement retails for £88
A similar product, Chill Child Kid Calming Mist, is listed for the same price,
The Goop Medicine Bag, which retails for £76 and contains eight crystals, ‘clearly implies that the products are intended to be used medicinally – to treat, prevent or manage medical conditions.’
The charity said: ‘There is no good evidence that any of the crystals described have any medicinal benefits.’
The UK-based complaint comes almost two months after Goop agreed to pay $145,000 in civil penalties in a case brought by prosecutors in California for making ‘unsubstantiated’ marketing claims.
The company had promoted Jade and Rose Quartz eggs – retailing on its website for $66 and $55, respectively – claiming that they could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse and increase bladder control when inserted into a woman’s vagina and left there for hours.
They also sold an Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend for $22, which was a mixture of floral extracts that they claimed could help prevent depression if ingested or added to bathwater.
In a statement for MailOnline, Laura Thomason, project manager at Good Thinking Society, said: ‘It is shocking to see the sheer volume of unproven claims made by Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop about their products, especially given that some of their health advice is potentially dangerous: nobody should be advising customers to avoid using conventional sunscreen or that pregnant women should take vitamin A, something that health experts have warned can be harmful to unborn children.
‘Gwyneth Paltrow may well have good intentions, but she and her company sell products with claims that could clearly mislead customers.
‘Just because Gwyneth has an Academy Award, it does not mean that Goop should be given an easy ride compared to other big corporations.
‘Being a celebrity does not exempt someone from abiding by the advertising law here in the UK, and if Gwyneth Paltrow cannot provide satisfactory evidence behind the claims she makes for her products, she should not be making those claims’.
The charity’s complaint has been submitted to Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), although the latter has advised the issue is outside their remit because the company is registered in the United States.
However, Good Thinking Society said it plans to appeal this on the basis that Goop sells its products online to UK customers in pounds, not dollars, and is currently operating a pop-up shop in Notting Hill.
Goop is also registered with a Worcestershire address on Companies House, with ‘Gwyneth Kate Martin’ listed as its director.