GNC Lawsuit! Class Action Filed vs 4 Dimension Nutrition & GNC

When we said things would get crazy regarding amino acid spiking and class action lawsuits, we didn’t realize it would get this crazy!

Today, we found a filing for yet another class action lawsuit — this time it is against both 4 Dimension Nutrition and GNC!

Our social media followers can see the exclusive PDF below:

Quick bullet points on the protein

First, let’s start with the claims against 4 Dimension Nutrition in the complaint filed:

4 Dimension Whey Phase Ingredients

The label in question. Note that nowhere on this label provided does it claim 100% Whey Protein.

  • The product at hand is 4 Dimension Nutrition’s Whey Phase
  • The marketing for this product claims “100% Whey Protein” on the label as well as on certain retailers, including GNC’s[1] (see below for the discussion on GNC).
  • Added creatine and free form amino acids (in the form of L-Leucine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Glutamine) are listed on the label, which the suit claims to contradict the above point
  • The claimed lab results, as performed by Chromadex and attached to the class action complaint on page 30, read the following:
    • Total Amino Acids (per 35g serving): 18.799g (24g is expected)
    • Total Free Amino Acids: 3.220g, which come from glycine, which is not listed on the label.
    • Total Bound Amino Acids: 15.578g
    • Creatine: 3.060g
    • Free-Form Glutamine: Not detected (but is on the label!)

    Note that “Bound” amino acids is roughly how much actual whey protein is inside.

  • The complaint was filed by the plaintiff’s counsel, Joseph J. Siprut of Siprut PC, Nick Suciu of Barbat, Mansour & Suciu PLLC, and Jonathan Shub of Seeger Weiss, LLP.

    The primary plaintiffs are Mason Dabish and Frank Muir, and the complaint has been filed to the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Eastern Division).

As always, it’s important to note that these are simply claims, and nothing is proven yet.

For instance, we are not sure how chain of custody will get proven with these lawsuits (ie, how can one prove that this product was not tampered between 4DN and ChromaDex?)

Now it’s time to talk about how GNC is getting pulled into this.

Why is GNC getting sued?

We’re obviously not lawyers, so you should read the section titled Defendant GNC’s Liability in the class action complaint PDF and see for yourself.

The basic gist from the complaint filed against General Nutrition Corporation is this:

  1. GNC’s website states it contains “100% Whey Protein” in multiple locations (from images to the product title to the URL).
  2. GNC is able to change marketing literature on their own website.
  3. GNC is well aware of amino acid spiking, as they’ve written articles against it on both their website and their blog, the first of which currently then promotes their own house brand protein.[2,3] Note: if the pages in the sources[2,3] get taken down, we assume screenshots have been taken.
  4. GNC has been a member of AHPA (American Herbal Products Association) since 2003, whichis an organization that is trying to promote new labeling guidelines for protein.[4]

To summarize the above bullet points, GNC seems to have put themselves in a potentially compromising situation.

On one side of the coin, they publicly condemn an action, yet on the other side, they possibly stand to gain from its existence (perhaps due to pricing and margins received)?

It is our belief that the lawsuit filed is attempting to condemn such behavior, and seems to be attempting to make point that this is an unfair situation for both the consumer and for brands that are fully compliant with labeling standards.

Stay tuned to our social media for more news. We have a feeling a lot more is coming before this is over.

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References

  1. GNC.com
  2. http://www.gnclivewell.com/realprotein/
  3. http://gnclivewell.com/blog/2014/07/31/protein-spiking-how-does-it-affect-you/
  4. http://www.ahpa.org/Default.aspx?tabid=441
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