by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Wyldewood Cellars, a Kansas-based producer and distributor of elderberry juice, is the latest raid target of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which recently sent US marshals to the company's winery in Mulvane to confiscate the "unapproved drug." According to the rogue agency, Wyldewood had violated provisions in the US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) that restrict health claims for food items, warranting the sudden invasion.
According to Barry Grissom, US Attorney for Kansas, the FDA sent a warning letter to Wyldewood in 2006 to remove or modify certain health claims that it said were in violation of federal law, but the company did not comply. FDA officials claim that Wyldewood continued to make unapproved claims, and that seizing the product was the next step.
However, John Brewer, co-founder of Wyldewood, says that after receiving the initial FDA warning letter, his company hired a consultant familiar with FDA regulations to help his company re-word their product descriptions. After making the appropriate changes, and clarifying that the elderberry products in question were supplements, Brewer says his company had done what it needed to in order to be in compliance.
"We haven't heard anything from (the FDA) since," he told reporters, noting that following the changes up until the raid, the FDA had ceased communicating with Wyldewood. "They've been in our facility multiple times. It's like, 'C'mon guys, we changed our label, we changed everything we thought we were supposed to do.' And then they show up and do this. (Supplements) seems to be one of their hot buttons these days."
This tactic, of course, has become all too common in recent years. A company receives a warning letter from the FDA, makes the appropriate changes, never hears anything further from the FDA, and out of nowhere gets raided. Such actions on behalf of the FDA are ultimately unwarranted and illegal, and the offended parties have every right to sue the agency for damages.
"You think you are doing things correctly, and there hasn't been any word, and all of a sudden you get this," said Brewer to The Kansas City Star.