The Los Angeles city attorney’s office filed suit Wednesday against an herbal remedy specialist, accusing the store of trying to pass off an untested radish paste as a safeguard against the coronavirus, officials said.
The civil lawsuit accuses Insan Healing in Koreatown of touting the item as a “must-have product for the protection and prevention” of coronavirus contagion, even though it has not been tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, court filings said.
The radish paste costs $99.95 per bottle and is made from a combination of “white radish harvested during frost,” garlic and ginger that can enhance a person’s immune system, according to the Insan Healing website.
References to the coronavirus and COVID-19 had been taken down by Thursday afternoon after the lawsuit was filed, but the city attorney’s office provided screenshots showing the claims that the paste could help with coronavirus prevention.
“We’ve got to stop those who use the fear fueled by the COVID-19 crisis to prey on people desperate to avoid the virus,” City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a statement. “Today it’s radish paste, which the defendants are peddling as, ‘a must-have product for the protection and prevention of the COVID-19, cold and flu season.’ We allege that claim is false, and we’re taking the defendants to court. In this public health emergency, consumers are entitled to accurate information. Their lives may depend on it.”
The suit seeks an injunction blocking the sale of the item and fines of up to $2,500 per violation of California’s unfair competition law, which bars false advertising.
Insan Healing was founded in 2013 by Angela K. Oh, a Culver City resident, filings with the secretary of state show. The company sells a variety of healing products including teas, foods and Korean bamboo salt. Oh did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Attempts to capitalize on people’s concerns about the coronavirus have attracted the attention of law enforcement in recent days. A Santa Monica woman was arrested Wednesday for peddling dozens of unapproved COVID-19 tests.