The makers of a so-called drinkable sunscreen have been ordered to pay a fine for misleading customers with exaggerated claims about the beverage’s ability to protect them from the sun’s rays.
The drink in question is DRINK UVO, and prosecutors say that the company behind it, Dermatology Industry Inc., promoted it as a sunscreen that people can drink
and enjoy protection from sun damage. The orange and peach flavored product contained Vitamins A, C, D, and E, along with biotin, selenium, zinc, niacin and folate.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton reached an agreed judgment against the California company, who must now pay $42,500 in favor of Texas. The amount includes $30,000 in civil penalties and $12,500 in attorney’s fees.
According to the AG’s suit, the beverage violated the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and some of the state’s health and safety laws by promoting, marketing and advertising the product despite not having any reliable scientific evidence to back it.
For example, UVO claimed that it offered protection to individuals against solar radiation for at least three hours and was suitable for anyone exposed to the sun. They also marketed it as having a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating of 30. However, they never carried out any FDA-compliant research to determine its true SPF.
Moreover, they cited a supposed scientific study that showed the drink’s blend of 30 vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants were proven to be effective in repairing sun-damaged skin. However, they failed to disclose the fact that their study was conducted by their founder using only a small number of subjects and was not peer reviewed.
The drink’s maker also agreed to a legal settlement with California’s attorney general
. Some of the claims
made by the drink maker that were cited in a statement by Attorney General Rob Bonta included that it provided “3-5 hours of sun protection from head to toe including your eyes” and that “if you drink UVO you will have baseline protection that will help minimize the likelihood of burning even if you forget to use sunscreen.”
Bonta noted that the drink was not the sunscreen substitute the company claimed. “We may want a shortcut, but the truth of the matter is: There’s no evidence that alternative sunscreen products like UVO’s so-called ‘drinkable sunscreen’ provide protection. You’ve got to wear your sunscreen, not drink it,” he said.
The company did not admit the allegations but agreed to pay the fine to avoid litigation. They are also required to give the state written notice within 60 days of marketing or selling dietary supplements or any other products related to sun protection.
The drink’s creators, Bobby Awadalla, said that the drink contains ingredients that can repair and protect skin from UV rays.
He told Food Navigator
in 2016: “UVO blocks both UVA and UVB rays from damaging the skin but does so using natural pigments to absorb them and other mechanisms to decrease the damage they cause.”
He added that he felt it was a good alternative for those who don’t like the smell of sunscreen or its tendency to wash off in the water while swimming.
It is not known how many bottles of the drink were sold before the lawsuit.
Another drinkable sunscreen found to be nothing more than water
A similar suit saw another company that made a “drinkable sunscreen” fined $50,000 by the Iowa attorney general’s office in 2018
Iowa AG Tom Miller’s office took the Colorado company Osmosis to court over its 3-ounce spray bottles of water, which were sold for $30 each. State lawyers obtained some of Osmosis’s internal emails that discussed how some people in a small test of the product who drank the water and then went outside in the sun ended up “burned to a crisp.”
The drink was ultimately found to be just water
, but its marketers claimed it was treated with electrical charges that gave it protective properties.
Sources for this article include: