FDA versus First Amendment Rights
"Freedom of the Press embraces the circulation of books as well as their publication." -- from Judge's ruling in Bantam Books v Sullivan  FDA ATTEMPTS TO COMPEL DESTRUCTION OF BOOKS [On Natural Herbal Supplement Stevia]
DALLAS - May 26, 1998 -- In an unprecedented move, US Food and Drug Administration officials threatened legal action against Texas-based Stevita Co., Importers of the sweet-tasting herbal dietary supplement, stevia - for distributing books and literature about their product. The latest volley in a bitter battle has been fired at Texas-based Stevita Co. by federal Food and Drug Administration officials.
The FDA, an agency of the federal government, is responsible for upholding the US Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and expression. This responsibility was drawn into question on May 19th when FDA Compliance Officer, James R. Lahar faxed a letter to Stevita Co. addressing the destruction of 2,500 books he deemed "offending," at a cost to the company well in excess of $10,000.
The letter further threatens that investigators will conduct a current inventory and "witness the destruction of the cookbooks, literature, and other publications for the purpose of verifying compliance" upon visiting Stevita Co. for a fourth time this year. One of three books in question is The Stevia Story - A tale of incredible sweetness & intrigue, by Linda Bonvie, Bill Bonvie and Donna Gates with Foreword by James S. Turner, Esq..
Ironically, Chapter Four of the book the FDA wants to destroy is titled: "What's wrong with the FDA?" An attempt to strong-arm critics into silence - similar to book burnings in Nazi Germany? Oscar Rodes, President of the Stevita Company said the FDA ordered the action because the books contain general information that include: history, usage's and scientific studies regarding stevia. Currently, Federal law requires stevia herbal products can only be marketed as dietary supplements without any mention of having sweetening power.
The Stevia Story-A tale of incredible sweetness & intrigue by Linda Bonvie, Bill Bonvie and Donna Gates
Dr. Schaller can neither support nor oppose these comments above. He is unable to research their accuracy.