As you may be aware by following our newsletters and Facebook page, we have been under what seems like a relentless attack by Trading Standards since November 2016. We would like to let you know that we have always been diligent in our products, supplies, and have always maintained our strong ethics right from the very start of our business back in 2004. We believe this huge inspection is due to the erosion of our natural health industry, rather than in the interest of public safety. We have never received any major complaints about our products and have received literally thousands of positive feedback. We are confident in our product range and use the products on ourselves, children and families and friends. We are keeping this blog to let you know 1. what is happening (as you may notice changes in products, labeling, website, etc) and 2. to highlight what is being done to destroy our natural health industry, which is being attacked from the smallest business first.
14th December 2017 - Meeting our new officer
We had a very constructive meeting with our new Trading Standards officer today. He really appears to be on our wavelength. It boils down to just 3 (not 50+) products that may need to be removed from sale and as we are the importer for these products the responsibility falls upon us (Detox Pads, Silver100 and Amritdhara). But he is going to do his best to see any way that they can be sold legally so we can continue selling them, and appreciates that some customers are long term users of these products. We also chatted at length about what we can and can't say and advice we can and can't give. Good news is that our gags have been removed somewhat, as it has been clearly explained to us now, and as Dani and Beth are Nutritional Therapists, we are able to give advice regarding supplementation even though we are also selling the products (something we had previously been left with the impression that we couldn't say anything as it would be construed as a health claim). What a difference it was to our recent experiences with them.
5th December 2017 - their reply
We received contact from another officer who has been assigned to work with us. We met him at our last inspection and chatted to him at length about the research that we put into sourcing products, and commended his common sense, friendly and knowledgeable approach in our reply and complaint. We are meeting with him next week where he will help us in areas we have requested more information. We feel hopeful that this may help turn our relationship with Trading Standards around to one that is constructive and helpful to us.
23rd November 2017 - our reply
After thorough perusal of the report and regulations, we finally sent off an extensive reply detailing all products mentioned along with any action taken, errors and disagreements to their information. We also sent an official complaint regarding the particular officer who had been dealing with us.
October 2017 - report received
we had the TS report hand delivered to our home last night! As a limited company, we find this an invasion of privacy!
Basically, there are 5 pages accusing us of selling unsafe and dangerous products which can be 'fatal', giving misleading information about the function of products (we are careful not to make health claims!), supplying illegal products due to incorrect labeling (due to them incorrectly assessing display items not for sale instead of the items we actually sell!), giving false and deceptive information on the price of goods and omitting information about the price (??), not displaying our address and identity (??), giving false descriptions and misleading claims (?), ignoring legal obligations (??), circumventing obligations (by selling raw materials which are multi use and not sold for a specific purpose), not carrying out safety testing (on products that are not even ours!), giving insufficient information in an unclear manner (yes, because we are not allowed to make health claims and these items are multi use), claiming to treat cancer (we do not mention cancer anywhere on the website), along with 41 products that have to be removed from sale (over half not our brand) and the onus put upon us to contact manufacturers regarding this (when due to trade secrets, etc manufacturers are not obliged to give us information of their supply, and other sensitive information).
In addition this investigation will be continuing for another 6 months!
Most of this is for products we have sold under their own officers' guidance which we sought out back in 2005 when we started. We have sold all of these items for at least 8 years, many even longer. All we can say is we are doing all we can, as we are without the funds to have proper legal advice. This is how they are destroying the natural health industry. We did however experience something positive yesterday at the same time as receiving the report, and we are taking this as a sign that it will all work out alright.
They have not given us much indication of where we have apparently gone so very wrong, no proof of any of these allegations, or any useful information whatsoever - otherwise we would know what to do and if these allegations are even relevant (which we very much doubt to be honest). For example, how can pricing be unclear when it is displayed in large bold on every single product? Accusations of unsafe products we don't even sell? Placing the burden of proof on us, mere resellers? Preventing us from saying what a product is used for then condemning us for giving insufficient advice? What hurts the most is we are in this business to help people, yet we are being treated like criminals - and yet there are real criminals out there!
October 2017 - Food Inspection
we had an on-the-spot food hygiene inspection on Wednesday as apparently we are now classed as a food preparation premises. We haven't had the report yet but they only mentioned one minor suggestion and that was to install a water heater on the sink. They seemed impressed with our protocols etc and it appears we passed with flying colours!
October 2017 - Update
Thank you so very much to everyone who has emailed and messaged testimonials and support, we really appreciate it. We have been scouring through the EU regulations to see what we need to do to keep selling the products mentioned. We are currently redesigning labels and gathering technical information on everything we do. We have had legal advice, one option forward is to make a formal complaint about the way this has been approached. However we are waiting until the next meeting to see whether to go ahead with this, as we are hoping to avoid unpleasantness. We want to comply with regulations, and want to provide the best for our customers, and we would love to work with TS in order to do this without the feeling of being threatened - and what we do not want is for products to be taken off sale when there is no need, and we will no longer stand for this. We are hoping that our meeting will be constructive and the officer will assist us in becoming compliant, by finding the correct way (according to the regulations) to sell our products, rather than abruptly and unnecessarily taking them off sale. We are confident now that many products are either being incorrectly categorised, and/or the information given to us by the TS officer does not apply to our products for a variety of reasons.
September 2017 - How you can help
WE NEED YOUR HELP! In light of recent dealings with Trading Standards, we are concerned that some of our products are at stake from being removed from sale. We believe this is due to the current attacks upon natural health rather than safety, as our natural products have been used and sold for many years without any complaints or negative effects, and some have a very long-extending history.
We are compiling a file of positive reviews and feedback for all our products, in particular the items under threat and our own branded 'Holistic Valley' products. Our aim is to prove that 1.our products are safe, 2. they have been used for many years here in the UK with no adverse effects, and 3. may have benefit to health/well-being.
So, if you use or have any experience of our products and would like to contribute to our cause to keep these items on sale, please email email@example.com to give your feedback/review. It is particularly useful to have feedback that is specifically product related and clearly detailed (eg if you have experience of many products, it would help if you listed your feedback for each separately) and to detail how long you have used it, stating whether you have had any negative effects and also any benefit you found. In particular we need this for Holistic Valley products such as (but not limited to) diatomaceous earth, magnesium flakes, sodium bicarb, coconut oil, aromatherapy range (in particular hand-made creams, soaps, bath bombs, etc), Silver 100 (ionic silver), Amritdhara herbal preparation, Detox Foot Pads, neti/enema equipment, ear candles.
PLEASE support us and help us to keep these items on sale and available to you. Thank you!
September 2017 - Dumped!
After our Trading Standards visit, we contacted suppliers to give them the Heads Up on any labeling or products that were non compliant. Unfortunately, Health Leads UK reacted by asking us to take all their products off sale and refusing to supply us anymore! So we have decided to give everyone a last chance to buy anything they would like to from the Health Leads range. We will be removing them from our product range on Sunday 24th September, so if there is anything you wish to buy from our current stock please do so now! We have stock left of Turmeric, Rene Caisse Tea (Essiac), Cloves, Wormwood & Green Black Walnut Husk (separately and in a Parasite Pack), Boron Plus and Vitamin E.
September 2017 - Yet another inspection!
Status update: We apologise for many items being out of stock, and we will explain why this is. We had yet another Trading Standards inspection today. They used 95% of their time on products that we do not manufacture and just sell as re-sellers, meaning labeling and product testing is not our responsibility. They do this every time they come, stop us from selling them (while others are still selling them) and NOT ONE SINGLE TIME have they approached the manufacturers of these so-called 'dangerous' or 'non-compliant' products - which they would do if they were that concerned and if common sense prevailed! This victimisation is causing so much stress on ourselves and our business. We had some great advice this time and recorded the meeting, and challenged them in some areas too (which they were not happy about). It could go one way or the other now - either they will realise we are standing up for ourselves and will not take being victimised and singled out, or they will look for anything they can and come down on us even harder.
This time the TSO brought along a Public Analyst (by her own admission "at great expense") and another Trading Standards officer who checked all our weights and measures. All was ok with the weights and measures.
We found out they were not entitled to confiscate the krill oil and she and the public analyst both refused to answer us when we asked if the krill oil was a dangerous product (the only way she would have been able to enforce confiscation and removal from sale).
July 2017 - on the spot Trading Standards inspection
Trading Standards held yet another on-the-spot inspection today - this time bringing with them the FSA (coincidentally 2 days after the National Food Crime Unit threatened to take down Danielle's 'Holistic Dani' website due to having an old image of a Chlorine Dioxide product on there. At the same time, Danielle was targeted by 2 separate journalists, seeming to be 'anti-quack', and then appeared in a news article in the Mirror about CDS and Autism.
The FSA said we were not a food premises, TS confiscated a product 'Krill Oil' saying it was dangerous and had to be removed from sale. Also took DE, zeolite and detox pads for testing. Refused to pay for products - just gave a £20 token amount (despite being obliged to pay in full).
November 2016 - on-the-spot inspection
We had a Trading Standards inspection who brought with them the MHRA. The MHRA were happy with everything, but queried the travel neti pot. We decided as such a low seller to remove this product from sale.