Commerce Commission warns against Baa Baa Beads
Consumers have been warned about the health benefits claims of amber beads as there's insufficient scientific proof to back it.
The Commerce Commission has queried claims being made by online retailer and wholesaler Baa Baa Beads, which sells Baltic amber bead necklaces for babies, adults and pets.
The beads are often used by mothers to treat teething babies.
Under changes to the Fair Trading Act last year, it is illegal for businesses to make claims about goods or services without reasonable grounds for those claims.
Baa Baa Beads claimed that upon skin contact , the amber bead released an analgesic called succinic acid, and there was scientific proof that it improved one's immune level and strengthened the body.
The company also claimed the beads were priced cheaper and were equal to or if not better that any other commercial drugs.
Asked to substantiate its claims, the company's response revolved around the beads being used for centuries in traditional healing.
It also supplied some evidence about succinic acid, but it was insufficient to link to any health benefits.
Overall the consumer watchdog said there was a lack of credible and scientific evidence to back up Baa Baa Bead's health claims.
Commissioner Anna Rawlings said: "In our view, Baa Baa Beads' conduct is likely to have breached the Fair Trading Act as the business could not provide reasonable grounds to support all the claims made about its products".
She said traders could not simply rely on general information they had read to support their claims.
The company had since modified or removed a number of representations about its products, and so the commission had decided to let it off with a warning.
Baa Baa Beads has been approached for comment.
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