Saturday, September 14, 2013

Are the Herbalife Diet Clubs Legal? (Hint: Probably not!)

Let's get to the point: Herbalife's best selling point: the diet club, is probably illegal in most instances, because they are not licensed or permitted to prepare food. In fact, I doubt most even have a license to retail food. 

Previously we've discussed Herbalife many times, and some of the stuff is how people who support Herbalife believe that most of its value is from the "diet clubs" that its distributors are running. I've discussed the problems with that particular view, though recently I realized I made a bad assumption. Peterson apparently introduced Herbalife to Mexico back in late 1980's, but nobody started doing "diet clubs" in Mexico until 2003, and it backfilled into the US in 2006. (I had assumed he introduced stuff to Mexico much later.)

However, here's a more interesting question... Are the diet clubs even LEGAL?

Now you're probably going, huh? How can a diet club be illegal?

By being an illegal food preparer and retailer without the proper permits.

In Herbalife's home, Los Angeles County, the local department of public health has ALREADY shut down two diet clubs that operated in retail spaces without a restaurant permit. Yes, milk and fruit and and shake preparation is food preparation, and food preparation requires a restaurant license.
Operating from homes is a concern to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
It's against the law to prepare and sell food — even nutrition shakes — from homes, said Eric Edwards, a county environmental health specialist. The county has shut down two Herbalife nutrition clubs in the last year for operating in retail space without proper health licenses, according to health department records.
"You can't operate a restaurant out of your home," Edwards said. "When they are making the shakes they are preparing food. Then they're expected to follow all the same rules, regulations and laws that a restaurant would."
Got that? It's pretty obvious that most diet clubs are operating ILLEGALLY under the radar of the regulators.

Of course, Mr. Hempton, one of Herbalife's fans and supporters, loved the diet clubs. In fact, he thinks that it's what made Herbalife special, what made most MLMs special.  And he even visited a few in state of New York.

Did any of the New York diet clubs visited by Mr. Hempton even have a food retail license (i.e. no preparation), much less food preparation license

I seriously doubt it.

The feature he loved is being operated ILLEGALLY. What a joke. 

This is not hard to fix, of course. Simply go get the permits.

But Herbalife doesn't actually condone the operation of the diet clubs. According to Bloomberg news report, the affiliates are not even allowed to display Herbalife logo outside. They urge their affiliates to comply with all local laws and ordinances.

How many do you actually think will actually go get a license?

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