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Court rejects herbal tea claim for cash

By Zhang Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-16 07:49
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A man who attempted to sue movie star Chen Daoming and a herbal tea company has lost his legal battle in Xuanwu district court.

Wang Shunhu, 51, from Shanxi province, said he was diagnosed with a spleen and stomach disorder, known as cold syndrome, after drinking several bottles of Heqizheng herbal tea a day in August.

He said he bought a box of 30 bottles of the herbal tea, promoted by Chen, for 108 yuan at Carrefour Maliandian supermarket in Xuanwu district on Aug 13.

After being diagnosed with the stomach condition, he found the tea included the ingredients of jidanhua and xiakucao, two kinds of Chinese traditional medicine elements.

Court rejects herbal tea claim for cash

Wang said that according to food safety law, the ingredients are not permitted in food, and therefore the herbal tea is illegal.

In late August, Wang sued the producer of Heqizheng herbal tea, Dali Company in Jinan, capital city in Shandong, the Maliandao Carrefour supermarket, Carrefour Chain supermarket group in Beijing and Chen Daoming.

He demanded the return of 108 yuan, 1,080 yuan in compensation, and another 618.28 yuan to cover the cost of his medical expenses and loss of income.

Chen said the advertising was not misleading and that the product did not claim to help prevent illness.

"I have checked all the relevant documents presented by the administrative government, such as the product checking, inspection and quarantine, and sale permission," he said.

"The advertisement wording of 'clear up internal heat' is generally identified as having some advantage to body function, but not specific to certain parts of the body."

The court said the Wang's medical records showed that "Wang's illness is caused by having too many cold drinks, poor diet and poor sleep."

In rejecting Wang's claim, the court found that Jinan Dali company is a qualified producer of the drink, and Heqizheng herbal tea is a safe product through the examination.

It is a matter for the government, not the court, to decide whether the addition of medical ingredients to beverages violated the law, the court found.

From Jan 1, actors and celebrities will be forbidden to appear in health advertisements.

Hou Yaohua, a famous Chinese comic star, recently apologized for his appearance in 10 fake or unregistered medicine commercials.

Zhao Zhongxiang, the veteran CCTV host, has also apologized for starring in fake medicine commercials.

(China Daily 12/16/2009 page25)