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AG Nessel, MDARD Take Action Against Detroit Marketplace and Wellness Business for Violating Food Law
February 16, 2022
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is taking civil action against a Detroit marketplace and wellness business after it ignored a cease-and-desist order issued by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) - due to the entity's lack of licensure and unsafe food production practices - and continues to operate online.
The Attorney General and MDARD are seeking enforcement of the Michigan Food Law because consumers should be able to trust an establishment has met sanitation and food safety standards, the food is safe and wholesome, and the statements on food labels are accurate.
The complaint is against The Moorish Science Temple, The Divine and National Movement of North America, Incorporated, No. 13, operating a Detroit storefront and online market called Moor Herbs. The storefront is currently closed, and the website is shut down "for a few weeks", but the business continues to post on social media about shipping orders and its plans to reopen.
Moor Herbs sells food products, including supplements, and bottled water without the required license and registrations and is selling products that pose an imminent hazard to public health by being mislabeled and adulterated. In particular, many of Moor Herbs' products are targeted at vulnerable populations without meeting the necessary standards or are marketed for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment and prevention of diseases - all of which violates the State's Food Law. Moor Herbs' "Tumor Release" herbal tea, for example, claims to be effective and helpful in natural, noninvasive, benign and malignant tumor dissolution.
"Michigan's Food Law ensures that every food establishment-regardless of what community it is located in-meets minimum standards to ensure food safety," Nessel said. "We will continue to partner with MDARD to ensure every community has access to safe, healthy food, and will not hesitate to take action in instances where businesses ignore sanitation and food safety standards."
"Ensuring the safety of Michigan's food supply is paramount. MDARD is committed to trying to work with a company before taking regulatory action. Unfortunately, Moors Herbs continues to violate the laws intended to keep our food safe and wholesome," MDARD Director Gary McDowell said. "Consumers should be able to shop with confidence that a business has met sanitation and safety requirements and is providing them a safe product."
Moor Herbs held a food establishment license starting in June of 2017 but failed to renew beginning in May 2020. Additionally, the business has registered three water dispensing machines in its food establishment but failed to keep these registrations current starting in registration year 2020 to 2021. Evaluation of Moor Herbs' storefront by MDARD inspectors revealed multiple violations of the State's Food Law.
In response, MDARD seized products in July 2021 and issued a cease-and-desist order on Aug. 12. Moor Herbs ignored both.
One of its products, "Health Beauty Angel Formula", was recalled last month following intervention by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because "FDA testing determined that the product did not meet specific nutrition and labeling requirements for infant formula, even though it is marketed as such. When the product was tested, the iron, sodium, and potassium content were well over the maximum allowed, which could potentially lead to iron overload and/or electrolyte imbalances. In addition, the product did not have vitamin D, and a vitamin D deficiency can potentially lead to rickets, a softening and weakening of bones."
The Department of Attorney General's civil action, filed on behalf of MDARD in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks to permanently enjoin Moor Herbs from:
- holding, selling, or offering food for sale without a license contrary to MCL 289.5101(1)(d) and (q), or registration contrary to MCL 289.4115(1);
- selling food that was obtained from a source that does not comply with federal, state, and local laws, contrary to MCL 289.5101(1)(r);
- manufacturing, selling, delivering, holding or offering for sale adulterated or misbranded food contrary to MCL 289.5101(1)(a);
- manufacturing, selling, delivering, holding, or offering for sale any food that has not been made in accordance with the Food Law, including any requirements incorporated by reference, contrary to MCL 289.5101(1)(r);
- and offering for sale food that, in violation of the law, includes claims that it is intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.
The complaint is now on the Department of Attorney General's website.