Doctors Willie Ong and Liza Ramoso-Ong are not endorsers of an unregistered barley grass powder that allegedly helps lose weight, contrary to a Facebook page posting altered photos to advertise the product.
Products with the names “Navitas Organic Barley” or “Barley Grass Powder” have no record on the Food and Drug Administration's online list of products with Certificate of Product Registration and License to Operate. FDA directed FactRakers to the same links when it was asked to confirm that the products indeed do not appear on the online list.
(Updated June 20: In an email to FactRakers, the FDA confirmed that Navitas Organic Barley is unregistered. The full text of its reply:
Please be informed that NAVITAS ORGANIC BARLEY is not registered with this office as of today. You are advised not to consume unregistered food products as these may pose potential risks, as they have not undergone proper testing and evaluation. The FDA cannot guarantee the safety and quality of such products. To ensure the legitimacy and safety of a food product or food supplement, we strongly advise you to check if it has been registered with the FDA or if the company possesses a license to operate.)
The Facebook page Navitas Organic Barley on May 31 posted altered photos of Ong and his wife, misleading netizens into thinking that the couple are promoting the powder that allegedly “supports weight loss” and “help fight cancer cells and harmful radicals.”
The image of Ong with boxes of the barley grass powder is manipulated. The original photo shows that the boxes were Molnupiravir capsules for COVID-19 posted last year.
Another Facebook image shows Ong and Ramoso-Ong holding a Nebulizer, not the barley grass powder.
The Facebook post also includes a link to a website where netizens can purchase the product with discounts and free items. The site also asks for personal information to complete the order. It attached photos of the product and reviews from customers.
Ong posted on April 18 that the only product they endorse is Birch Tree Advance. Other advertisements that use their names and images are fake. False advertisements on arthritis cream, weight loss cereal, pesticide, and intimate wash using Ong and Ramoso-Ong’s identities were debunked. The coupley also reminded netizens to follow only their official social media accounts.
Actress Dimples Romana's photos from Santé Barley Max were also altered on the website, making it look like she was holding and using the product.
As of writing, the Facebook page collectively garnered 1,336 reactions, 298 comments and 23 shares from their posts with altered photos of Ong and his wife. (FT)