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Body Toddy

William T. Jarvis, Ph.D.

Body ToddyTM (BT) was marketes as water from "an ancient sedimentary deposit of prehistoric plant origin." It was said to contain "7 major minerals and 53 trace minerals." BT is amber colored and tastes like rock filtered water (unless flavorings have been added). BT was peddled with the promise that it will improve a person's health in some way. "The stay young hucksters," by Kevin Krajick (Longevity August, 1989) provides details on the questionable marketing of Body Toddy.The sales pitch went something like this:

BT was marketed by the Rockland Corporation of Tulsa, Oklahoma for several years. Its primary promoter was Elmer Heinrich. Heinrich was a flamboyant salesman who seemed willing to make about any health claim for BT. Heinrich set up a multilevel marketing sales system for the distribution of BT, and was riding high until 1985. He first got in trouble in California where the Attorney General sued him for falsely representing that BT was good for 32 specific ailments including psoriasis, gangrene, rheumatism, hypoglycemia, curvature of the spine, diminished memory, leukemia, varicose veins... Well, you get the idea. Most people considered BT to simply be a somewhat putrid form of bottled water that deceived consumers (aka, "suckers") into paying big money for (BT sold for about $85 a gallon!). It just seemed to be a case of Heinrich being a modern snake oil salesman who took people's money. However, tests done for station KTUL-TV in Tulsa found that BT had 15 times more chlorine, 200 times more arsenic, and 88 times more lead than is permissible in drinking water. This led people to be concerned about the possible toxic consequences of using BT.

When Heinrich got in trouble with the FDA for making medicinal claims, his product had to not only be considered worthless, but potentially hazardous to health. On August 23, 1989 Heinrich signed a Consent Decree of Permanent Injunction in the U.S. District Court for Northern Oklahoma (INJ #1188) prohibiting the promotion of Body Toddy, or any product which contains Body Toddy as a component. The decree also applied to all distributors. It required them to return all products and product literature so it could be destroyed. [Disposition of Injunction against Elmer G. Heinrich, President Rockland Corp. FDA Enforcement Report 10/4/89.]

In 1995, NCAHF began to hear of other "toddy" products that had sales pitches very much like that of Heinrich and BT. We cannot be absolutely certain that this is the same rock water that Heinrich peddled, but at least the concept is the same. This would not be the first time a product came along that was a mimic of one that had gone before and fallen into legal problems. Its just awfully hard to keep a good quack idea -- one that can make money -- down.

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© 1995 National Council Against Health Fraud. With proper citation, this article may be reproduced for noncommercial purposes

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This article was posted on December 29, 2000.