Vitamin Shoppe Faces Class Action Over Enzyme Claims

A recently filed class action suit against Vitamin Shoppe Inc. claims the company falsely advertises the efficacy of its dietary supplements in the absorption and digestion of protein.

The case, Junior Hermida v. Vitamin Shoppe Inc., case number 2:14-cv-172, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, was filed on Wednesday, with Parker Waichman LLP representing Junior Hermida. According to the complaint, the company adds the digestive enzyme Aminogen to its dietary supplements then boasts of the supplements’ protein-absorbing power.  But the complaint says there is not enough of the enzyme in the products to make a difference: “Although defendant boasts about the products’ efficacy in labeling and advertising the products, it dramatically under-doses the digestive enzyme Aminogen and falsely claims that lactase helps aid in the absorption and digestion of protein, such that none of the promised benefits is or can be delivered to the products.”

According to the complaint, Vitamin Shoppe’s practices violate both state and federal consumer protection laws. Vitamin Shoppe’s claims about Aminogen cause consumers to pay inflated prices for the products, and Hermida and members of the class “have been unfairly deceived into purchasing the products which they would not otherwise have purchased, or would have purchased only at a substantially lower price that that charged by defendant.” The suit asks for damages for breach of express warranty, fraud by misrepresentation, and violation of the Florida deceptive and unfair trade practices act, among other claims.

This class action comes several months after New Jersey federal judge Stanley R. Chesler threw out a class action over Vitamin Shoppe’s marketing of True Athlete Training Formula dietary supplement sold as a bodybuilding and fitness enhancer. Though the judge said the allegations weren’t specific enough about how the supplement’s label or Vitamin Shoppe’s online marketing deceived consumers, his opinion did allow for the complaint to be refiled.







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