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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Some Children's Vitamins Aren't What They Seem

How upset should I be about this?

We brought home a bottle of Transformers gummy vitamins. Complaint 1) Addison thought they tasted like feet. Complaint 2) They aren't Transformers gummy vitamins. As the pictures here somewhat clearly show (how clear an image can gummy vitamins really portray?) the vitamins are Thomas the Tank Engine gummy vitamins.

For what it's worth, Addison seemed more inclined to consume these homogenized globs of fortified corn syrup when he found out they were Thomas. I really don't know what to make of that. But I wasn't going to let that happen.

The good sign, I guess, is that Health Science Labs does sell Thomas the Tank Engine gummy vitamins. But that's small comfort to the fact that this bottle of children's vitamins is mislabeled. Health Science Labs also sells gummy vitamins for adults (yeah . . . go figure) concocted to combat osteoporosis, heart disease, and irregularity.

Would the adult gummies, Infinity8, be harmful to my kid? The nutritional info says it can be taken by children over the age of 2. But here's the problem: the dosage for Infinity8 is one gummy; the dosage for the children's vitamins is two gummies. So if Health Science Labs is in the habit of putting their vitamins into the wrong bottles, some other poor kid could be chowing down on two black-cherry Regul8 gummies with 6 grams of fiber when he thinks he's getting a balanced blend of vitamins and nutrients.

I am fairly upset about this. For me, the bottom line is that this company doesn't know precisely what they're putting into their bottles. I've emailed their customer service department, and I'll update this if and when I hear back from them. But I've seen nothing on their site in the way of an announcement of any kind.

Am I being silly? Wouldn't be the first time. I'm just curious what people's various states of alarm would be if a bottle of something dangerous enough to require a child-proof cap—something intended for your child's health—didn't contain what it said it did.



  1. I am curious to what the transformer ones look like, or maybe the joke is on you, and Thomas the Tank IS a transformer and we just didn't know...

  2. I don't think you will be hearing back from their customer service dept. It will probably be their legal dept, wanting to know how much you want instead of filing suit against them.
    You have every right to be upset and I wish it could be publicized even more. Not for spiteful reasons but because this is a mistake that should NOT be happening.
    Thomas instead of Transformer. If they don't have a handle on how they control what image goes into a bottle, how do we know they are controlling the ingredients that go into the image?
    How unsettling.

  3. I too just purchased these and found you post while searching online for how serious this problem is. I am also quite upset and quite worried about what I had my kid eat before he noticed the problem. How do we know what is in these. I am assuming the Thomas and Transformers are the same, just different shapes. But, if they are not aware of what shapes go into each bottle, then how do we know they are aware of what ingredients go into each shape??? Please do update if you hear back from them. I have also sent an email.

  4. Jim, you may be onto something, although I'd bet the island of Sodor that Thomas the Tank does not transform (he can barely make faces). But I wonder if there really is no such thing as a Transformer-shaped vitamin, that they simply bottled up Thomas vitamins and put a Transformer label on the bottle. If that's the case, this is a matter not of carelessness but of fraud.

    Karla, you may be right. If I do hear from their legal dept, do you know any good lawyers I could hire to respond to them? :) I do tend to side with you on the question, if they don't know which shapes are going into which bottles, how can I trust them with the finer, far more important details?

    And Angel, I'm glad you noticed the problem. I do know that all their children's vitamins link to the same nutritional information on the Web site (although, as mentioned above, I can't be too certain anything on the label is all that accurate). I'll update as soon as I hear from them. So far, total silence. Let me know if you have better luck.

  5. I think you need an attorney.

    Seriously, though, I'd be pretty upset. Regardless of how harmless things are, or dangerous, if you're not getting what you're paying for, you at least deserve a refund...


  6. I just experienced the same thing. I'm a bit concerned about what I just gave my 2 kids before realizing the difference. Did anything else happen since your last post?

  7. No updates as of yet, Jeannine. I may have to dig for more contact information than just the posted (and completely unresponsive) email address from the site. Stay tuned (and stay miffed).

  8. AK....

    Wow, this is pretty intriguing and the fact that you haven't heard back from them is maddening!

    The supplement industry is pretty tricky...the fact that the FDA doesn't regulate some of the vitamins and nutritional supplements on the market might make it difficult to take legal action, however, word of mouth is sometimes more damaging. Just the simple threat of going to the papers, blogging and writing articles and publishing them on the Internet just might get their attention!!

    Good luck and keep us posted!!

  9. I just had the same experience, and found your blog doing a Google search to see if anyone else had this happen. You are the only one I found. I had assumed that this was a case of the company trying to get rid of excess Thomas vitamins by packaging them up in a Transformers bottle and pretending that an upside-down Thomas looks enough like an Autobots symbol that nobody would complain. And, in fact, I haven't been able to find a picture of an actual Transformers gummy vitamin anywhere on the web. At the same time, outside of you and the two other responders who had the same problem, I haven't found any mention of this elsewhere either. Do people just not care that they're getting something other than what they paid for?
    My son hasn't eaten any yet, so I plan to take the bottle back to where I bought it, get a refund, and then check the other bottles on the aisle to see if they are all the same (unlike most gummy vitamins I've bought, the plastic bottle isn't sealed inside a box to hide the contents). If they are all Thomas, I'd feel safer, but I still think my money is better spent elsewhere.

  10. ... taking a second look at the bottle...

    Both the Thomas the Tank Engine and Transformers bottles use a blank bottle with a plastic shrink-wrap label and a little figure (train or transformer head) on top of the bottle. I'm willing to bet these are simply old unsold bottles of Thomas vitamins with a new Transformers wrapper.

    So there's probably no need to worry about the contents being dangerous (unless gummy multivitamins can go bad), but this is almost certainly a deliberate action on the part of the vitamin compnay.

  11. January 25, 2010
    Longmont, Colorado 5 year old who loves Transformers just burst into tears when he saw they were Thomas the Train. What the heck is going on here? Class action lawsuit I think. Any updates on the emails to customer service/legal department?

  12. Sorry for not getting back to you all sooner. I'm as bad as this company's lame/nonexistent customer service department.

    I haven't heard from anyone who actually did get transformer-shaped vitamins in their bottles, but those aren't the kind of people who go searching for answers.

    I'm still left with two possible options: they put the wrong thing in the bottle (they're incompetent and scary) or they expected little kids and their parents not to notice the difference (they're scam artists and no less scary). Following up very soon.

  13. We have also purchased a bottle of what we thought was transformer vitamins and ended up being Thomas.Curious to know if anyone has been contacted by the company regarding this?????


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