by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Companies selling coconut oil in California are finding out the hard way that they cannot claim that coconut oil is “healthy” because the FDA does not allow such a claim, even if scientific studies back up this claim, along with hundreds of thousands of customer testimonials about the health benefits of coconut oil.
Several companies are now fighting class action lawsuits for the sale of their brand of coconut oil in California, including Nutiva , Nature’s Way , BetterBody , Carrington Farms , All Market’s (Vita brand) , Costco (Kirkland label) , and others .
The people who are bringing these lawsuits are stating that these companies are violating FDA regulations by indicating that coconut oil is healthy when the FDA says this claim cannot be made.
Furthermore, the companies are being accused of violating FDA standards for displaying product information on product labels. Violations in these two areas are the primary basis for court cases that are intended to declare that the coconut oil products sold by these companies are misbranded, and are in violation of federal regulations and California laws governing false advertising, fair labeling, and merchantability.
FDA: Saturated Fats Cannot be Healthy Unless We Say So
The foundational premise upon which the cases have been built, rests on the belief that coconut oil is saturated fat, and therefore it is unhealthy. Their attorneys are claiming that their clients were misled and deceived by the information on coconut oil labels.
They alleged that the labels convinced them to believe that coconut oil was healthy, and their decision to pay a high price for coconut oil was determined by this claim.
When they subsequently learned that coconut oil was saturated fat and was considered by government dietary nutritional advice to be unhealthy, they decided (or were encouraged) to take legal action requesting to be paid for financial damages.
The use of the word “healthy” is restricted to products that only the FDA has determined to be healthy. If you sell any products that you claim to be “healthy” and the FDA has not approved such a claim, you can be arrested, and your inventory can be seized as “unapproved drugs.”
According to the FDA, “healthy” products can only contain small amounts of fat and even smaller amounts of saturated fat. The FDA bases their definition of “healthy” on the USDA’s nutritional recommendations for a low-fat diet.
FDA guidance documents state:
H2. What health claims are permitted on food labels?
Answer: If a claim is provided for in a FDA regulation, then it may be used in accordance with that regulation. A firm may also submit a health claim notification based on an authoritative statement by a U.S. government scientific body under section 403(r)(3)(c) of the FD&C Act. The criteria necessary to use health claims provided for by FDA are summarized in Appendix C of this guidance. 
Appendix C of FDA regulations state:
(4) Disqualifying nutrient levels means the levels of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium in a food above which the food will be disqualified from making a health claim. These levels are 13.0 grams (g) of fat, 4.0 g of saturated fat, 60 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol, or 480 mg of sodium, per reference amount customarily consumed, per label serving size, and, only for foods with reference amounts customarily consumed of 30 g or less or 2 tablespoons or less, per 50 g. 
This means that there could be hundreds of peer-reviewed studies published in prestigious journals in the last ten years demonstrating the fact that coconut oil is safe, healthy, prevents illness, and supports people in their healing, but if in the opinion of the FDA, “Significant Scientific Agreement (SSA) based on the totality of publicly available scientific evidence,” does not show that coconut oil is healthy in their opinion, then the FDA will prevent companies from saying that coconut oil is healthy regardless of the overwhelming evidence showing that it is.
Apparently, the FDA also gets to decide what constitutes Significant Scientific Agreement.
For example, if the FDA and other government agencies are persuaded by the opinion of the American Heart Association and by various groups of dieticians, both of which still warn against the alleged dangers of saturated fat and coconut oil, then the truth, as the FDA sees it, will be the opinion of these groups.
If the FDA believes that these groups represent “strong prevailing scientific opinion,” then they will enforce the belief that coconut oil is unhealthy and is linked to arterial and heart related illnesses and stroke, and they will prevent companies from stating the truth as seen in scientific literature. [10, 11]
This means that the FDA’s definition of “healthy food” is not a matter of absolute truth based on scientific evidence; rather, it is a matter of what the FDA considers to be true in their opinion.
If the FDA believes that saturated fat is unhealthy, then it will not allow a product that contains more than 1 gram of saturated fat per serving to be called healthy.
Thus, containers of coconut oil, butter, lard, and tallow could never be called healthy, because they are essentially 100% fat and have a large amount of saturated fat.
If the FDA determines that saturated fat is unhealthy – then their determination is the law — end of discussion.
Attorneys Take Advantage of FDA Ruling on Saturated Fats to Sue Companies Selling Coconut Oil
The lawyers representing the plaintiffs used FDA regulations concerning the labeling of saturated fat to their advantage.
They didn’t need to prove that coconut oil is unhealthy or that saturated fat is unhealthy – they just needed to show that the FDA says that a product that is 100% fat and 90% saturated fat cannot be called healthy.
Therefore, any suggestion on coconut oil labels that the product is healthy can be used to prove that the product was mislabeled, misbranded, and so subject to legal action.
It should be noted that the plaintiffs in this case are not claiming that they were harmed by coconut oil – just that they were “misled” to believe coconut oil was healthy.
The lawsuits against the companies are very similar since the lead attorneys for the complaining parties in each lawsuit in California are the same.
If the FDA had a different interpretation of scientific opinion concerning whether saturated fat is healthy, then these lawsuits could not have moved forward. If companies were permitted by the FDA, based on the preponderance of scientific evidence – the weight of scientific truth, to say that coconut oil is healthy, then most all of the allegations in these cases would have been dismissed.
There is a constitutional matter involved as well, about whether the FDA can squelch the free speech of companies selling products who disagree with their interpretation of the scientific evidence, and whether or not that freedom of speech is protected under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
To reverse this trend in legal actions, it would appear that a lawsuit needs to be filed against the FDA to force them to change their definition of the word “healthy” as it relates to saturated fat.
Such a lawsuit would probably need to follow the model provided for us by Dr. Tim Noakes  in his high-fat low-carb diet trial in South Africa , where he took five and a half days to present 30 hours of testimony with 900 slides to teach the judges in his case enough science for them to change their opinion about the value of eating a healthy low-carb high-fat diet. 
American Heart Association to Benefit from Lawsuits Against Coconut Oil?
Earlier this year (2017) the American Heart Association (AHA) published a “Presidential Advisory ” on “Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease” in which it condemned coconut oil, and recommended that people not consume it. See:
It is interesting that the settlement against Costco names the American Heart Association as the beneficiary of unallocated funds. The court document states:
That any funds from uncashed checks remaining in the Common Fund after claimants’ checks have expired will be awarded (cy pres) to the American Heart Association. 
Science Says Saturated Fats and Coconut Oil are Healthy
The belief that saturated fats are not healthy is based on the now debunked lipid theory of heart disease, which states that consumption of saturated fats leads to elevated levels of cholesterol, which leads to an increase in heart disease.
Ancel Keyes was the original researcher to put forward this theory, which was later adopted by Congress as part of USDA dietary advice, and his research has been completely discredited. (See: Ancel Keys Was Wrong about Heart Disease and Cholesterol )
In fact, the science actually points to the opposite, that people with high levels of cholesterol actually live longer  than those with low cholesterol. (See also: Japanese Research Exposes Statin Scam: People with High Cholesterol Live Longer )
As we recently published , saturated fats and cholesterol were condemned in the 1960s by the commercial sugar industry, to deflect criticism away from the damaging effects of refined sugar. See:
Public Health SCANDAL! Sugar Industry Hid Science Linking Sugar to Heart Disease – Blamed Saturated Fats and Cholesterol Instead 
Cholesterol used to be only labeled as “bad” and something to lower with drugs. But then in more recent times it was divided into two categories, “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
However, even this concept of cholesterol is not entirely accurate, as our bodies need both types of cholesterol to survive. (See: There Is Only One Type of Cholesterol: All of it Beneficial )
Coconut oil actually raises HDL cholesterol (considered “good”) more than LDL, and that ratio is considered a better heart health marker. Studies show that coconut oil consumption actually increases that ratio favorably, and there are numerous studies now showing that coconut oil is “heart healthy” in the peer-reviewed literature. Here is a sample:
Study: Coconut Oil Helps Hypertension – Science Based Health Benefits of Coconut Oil Keep Increasing 
Study: Traditional Virgin Coconut Oil High in Antioxidants and Reduces Oxidative Stress in Heart, Kidney, and Liver 
New Extensive Research From Sri Lanka Shows Coconut Oil Has No Risk to CVD, and that Coconut Residue has Great Promise for Treating Heart Disease 
Coconut Oil is Beneficial for Your Heart: Shining the Truth on Mainstream Media’s Negative Attacks Against Coconut Oil 
Coconut Oil is a Threat to Big Pharma and Big Food
Coconut oil is derived from coconuts, and must be imported as it is not produced much in the U.S.
Due to its recent growth in popularity, it can be seen as a threat to the edible oil industry and the pharmaceutical industry.
Subsidized Dietary Polyunsaturated Oils and World Domination
The United States is the world’s largest supplier of polyunsaturated edible oils, derived mainly from corn and soybeans, two very highly subsidized crops. As a result, the U.S. dominates the world-wide edible oil industry with these “vegetable oils.”
The concerted attack against saturated fats led to the industrial processing of corn and soy into edible oils. These are not traditional oils that have been in the food chain prior to WWII, as expeller-pressed technology was needed to extract oil from these crops.
These crops need to be chemically processed to remain shelf-stable as a dietary oil, and over 90% of the crops of corn and soy in the U.S. are from GMO seeds.
Dr. Mary Enig’s excellent treatment of the history of the edible oil industry in America is well worth reading:
Interesting, USDA dietary advice promotes polyunsaturated oils as “heart healthy,” in spite of strong evidence to the contrary.
In 2013 a report published in the British Medical Journal  looked at resurrected data from a 1960s study, the Sydney Diet Heart Study, which supports a completely different conclusion about the effects of polyunsaturated oils on heart disease.
Not only does the evidence not support the claim that polyunsaturated fats prevent heart disease, it shows that just the opposite is true! The conclusion from the abstract:
Advice to substitute polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats is a key component of worldwide dietary guidelines for coronary heart disease risk reduction.
However, clinical benefits of the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega 6 linoleic acid, have not been established. In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease.
An updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit.
These findings could have important implications for worldwide dietary advice to substitute omega 6 linoleic acid, or polyunsaturated fats in general, for saturated fats. (Italics added.)
Resurrected Data From 1960s Shows American Heart Association’s Advice on Dietary Fats has been Wrong 
Profitable Cholesterol Drugs
It is a well-known fact that historically, drugs designed to lower cholesterol (statins) have been the most prescribed and most profitable drugs in the history of mankind. It is a $100 billion a year industry.
The cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor is the best-selling drug of all time, grossing over $140 billion, with no serious close competitors in the history of pharmaceutical drugs.
It wasn’t until after the patent on Lipitor ran out, opening the door for cheaper generics to flood the market, that the FDA finally published warnings on the side effects of statin drugs, which include liver injury, memory loss, muscle damage, and Type 2 diabetes.
One out of every four Americans over the age of 50 is taking a statin drug to lower their cholesterol, so this is a huge market that depends upon the success of the lipid theory of heart disease which condemns saturated fats and cholesterol as bad.
For more information, see our recently published article:
Public Health SCANDAL! Sugar Industry Hid Science Linking Sugar to Heart Disease – Blamed Saturated Fats and Cholesterol Instead 
How Many Lives Have Been Destroyed by Bad Nutrition Advice?
The science clearly shows how the “lipid theory of heart disease,” the belief that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease, is false, but that science can never be published or exposed by Big Pharma, Big Food, or the U.S. Government.
To do so would be to admit that such dietary advice, and the cholesterol lowering drugs that have earned them hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars, have been a scam and have led to increased rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
These are the leading causes of death today.
The polyunsaturated edible oils consumed by over 90% of Americans today, which are not the edible oils of our ancestors, have replaced the traditional saturated fats that our ancestors consumed, such as butter, beef tallow, lard, and vegetable sources such as the tropical oils, coconut oil and palm oil.
Until recently, these recent additions to the human food chain, polyunsaturated oils derived from corn and soybeans, had to go through an industrial processing called “hydrogenation” to make them shelf stable and behave like saturated fats.
This process of hydrogenation was found out to be, years later, toxic, as it produced trans fats, which have now been banned in most countries, and require a warning on U.S. food labels.
In addition to the domination of these toxic vegetable oils, official USDA dietary advice, enforced by the FDA, encouraged a low-fat diet, resulting in the consumption of more carbohydrates, mostly in the form of refined sugar.
As we just published, the fraudulent studies used to exonerate processed sugar and put the blame for heart disease and other diseases on saturated fat, is now being exposed .
The blood of millions of Americans who followed the advice from this faulty science used by the U.S. government now stains the hands of all those who corrupted the science, and the politicians who enforced it.
Time for the Public to Take a Stand?
Instead of opportunistic attorneys taking advantage of federal laws and guidelines used to attack companies selling healthy products, such as coconut oil, maybe it is time for the public to take their own legal action against those responsible for the major leading causes of death in the U.S. today which in large part is based on corrupt and faulty nutrition advice?
Contact us  and join others who are tired of being lied to and taken advantage of by corporate interests and government corruption that takes no interest in protecting the public’s health.
Comment on this article at CoconutOil.com. 
 Nutiva, 1/8/2016. https://www.truthinadvertising.org/nutiva-coconut-oils/ 
 Nature’s Way, 3/19/2016. https://www.truthinadvertising.org/natures-way-coconut-oils/ 
 BetterBody Settlement, 5/24/2017. https://www.betterbodysettlement.com/Index 
 Carrington Farms, 5/4/2017. https://www.truthinadvertising.org/carrington-farms-brand-coconut-oil-products/ 
 All Market’s Vita Coconut Oil, 12/1/2016. https://www.truthinadvertising.org/markets-vita-coco-coconut-oil/ 
 Costco Coconut Oil Settlement, 7/26/2017. https://www.kirklandcoconutoilsettlement.com/SettlementDocuments 
 You searched for coconut oil – Truth In Advertising, 9/26/2017. https://www.truthinadvertising.org/?s=coconut+oil 
 “Labeling & Nutrition, Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide,” (8. Claims, Question H2). https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064908.htm 
 eCFR, Code of Federal Regulations, Definitions. https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=1&SID=4bf49f997b04dcacdfbd637db9aa5839&ty=HTML&h=L&mc=true&n=pt21.2.101&r=PART#se21.2.101_114 
 “Advisory: Replacing Saturated Fat with Healthier Fat could Lower Cardiovascular Risks,” American Heart Association News, 6/15/2017. https://news.heart.org/advisory-replacing-saturated-fat-with-healthier-fat-could-lower-cardiovascular-risks/ 
 “Coconut Oil,” Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN, Today’s Dietitian Magazine, October 2016 issue. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1016p32.shtml 
 “Noakes: Low Fat Causes Heart Disease! Part 1,” Candice Spence, by Dr. Tim Noakes, The Noakes Foundation, 4/17/2017. https://thenoakesfoundation.org/news/blog/the-low-fat-diet-does-not-prevent-arterial-disease-it-causes-it-prof-noakes 
 Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement, Case 8:16-cv-00278-DOC-DFM Document 115 Filed 07/26/17 Page 1 of 6 Page ID #:2409. https://www.kirklandcoconutoilsettlement.com/content/documents/OrderGrantingPreliminaryApprovalofClassActionSettlement.pdf