Eight month prison sentence for misleading health claims

The Director of an Urmston based company, Well Bee-ing UK Ltd, has been given an eight month prison sentence (suspended for 12 months), and ordered to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work, for wrongfully claiming the health benefits of Royal Jelly sold on his website, including that it could help speed the healing of tumours.

Mr Paul Southern of Well Bee-ing UK Ltd was successfully prosecuted by Trafford Council at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday 5th October after pleading guilty to 9 offences under the Nutrition and Health Claims (England) Regulations 2007. The company has also been fined £2700 for the same offences.

Mr. Southern made numerous health claims relating to the benefits of Royal Jelly, including that it would help those suffering with illnesses such as Alzheimers, speed the healing of tumours, and destroy bacteria that cause serious illnesses.  He also claimed that Royal Jelly could sustain a healthy immune system, had extraordinary fertility properties and is required for a healthy nervous system.

Under the 2007 regulations, claims must not be made about the benefits of foods and food supplements unless they are authorised by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and listed on a register. EFSA will only validate health claims when there is scientific evidence to back them up.

The court heard that following a complaint in 2011 over health claims made on his company’s website, Trafford Council endeavoured to work with Mr Southern to help him comply with the law. Despite this, Mr Southern continued to deliberately and repeatedly make unauthorised health claims on his website, over a number of years, in order to sell Royal Jelly. After he ignored repeated written warnings, legal proceedings were started against him.

Executive Member Councillor David Hopps, said: “This is an important case due to the nature of the health claims being made. By selling the product using claims which were not backed by scientific evidence, Mr Southern was misleading vulnerable individuals who believed that their health conditions would be improved.

The Council will always work with businesses to help them improve and maintain standards, but we will not hesitate to take formal action against those who take advantage of vulnerable consumers by wilfully flouting the law.

This prosecution aims to send out a strong message to other local businesses to make sure they only make health claims which are authorised on the European register.”

Posted on Tuesday 10th October 2017