Evolution Diet Update: Selling Food with Fraud

Early on in the writing of this blog, I posted an article and Evolution Diet, yet another “natural diet” promoted through fallacies, half-truths, and outright lies. I pointed out at the time that the CEO of the company selling this diet, Eric Weisman, had dubious, likely fraudulent academic credentials, a wildly irrational philosophy about health and disease, and a pretty paranoid vision of mainstream medicine. That was about as far as my investigative journalism went. However, a reader has brought to my attention a few additional facts about Mr. Weisman that do seem relevant for anyone trying to evaluate the truth of his claims about the diet.

Mr. Weisman was apparently licensed as a chiropractor in the state of Minnesota in 1979. He was then subsequently investigated and reprimanded multiple times between 1982 and 2002, when his license was finally revoked. Here’s a summary of the series of disciplinary actions and a small sample of the actions that led to them.*

a. Respondent was licensed by the Board on October 16, 1979. On January 18, 1982, the Board issued a consent order concerning Respondent in which Respondent was reprimanded and placed on probation for one year, from January 15, 1982 until January14, 1983. The January 18, 1982 Order included a requirement that Respondent cease to use any advertisement, office designation, or patient informational material that contained any statement or representation from which it might reasonably be inferred that Respondent possessed special qualifications in one or more areas of chiropractic practice, including “holistic chiropractor,” “holistic practitioner,” “M.T.” and “workmen’s compensation specialist,” and/or that Respondent had an ability to cure patients or necessarily make them well.

b. On July 1, 1986, the Board issued a second consent order concerning Respondent whereby Respondent was censured and again placed on probation for one year. The July 1, 1986 Order included, but was not limited to, provisions requiring Respondent to provide only necessary services to patients, to post and display a listing of services, goods and procedures with the current fee for each, and to maintain complete, accurate, current, legible, and readily retrievable records on every patient.

c. On June 18, 1987, the Board issued a third consent order concerning Respondent that, in part, reissued provisions of the July 1, 1986 Order and placed Respondent on probation. The terms, conditions and restrictions of the June 18, 1987 Order remained in effect until July 17, 1997.

d. On July 17, 1997, the Board issued a stipulation and order based on Respondent’s unprofessional conduct and numerous violations of chiropractic statutes and rules (“1997 Order”). Respondent’s violations included, but were not limited to, the following:

            1. Respondent has practiced beyond the scope of his chiropractor’s license by performing chiropractic on andotherwise treating animals. Respondent has also advertised that he performs chiropractic on animals.

            2. Respondent has used numerous advertisements that are unprofessional, misleading, indicate that Respondent guarantees a cure and/or fail to identify Respondent as a chiropractor, including: . . .Numerous advertisements in which Respondent represents that he “guarantees” results or has the “guaranteed fastest, finest treatment available.”

e. The 1997 Order placed Respondent on probation for a minimum of five years….

f. On September 16, 1999, the Board issued a supplemental stipulation and order (“1999 Supplemental Order”), based, in part, on Respondent’s failure to comply with the community service requirement of his 1997 Order… The 1999 Supplemental Order also extended Respondent’s period of probation to three years from the date of the 1999 Supplemental Order and added a requirement that the Board’s approval or disapproval of Respondent’s proposed advertising….

The misconduct that is the subject of this proceeding is particularly egregious.

Respondent falsely held himself out as qualified and authorized to provide an “emergency service” for both humans and animals suffering from life-threatening conditions, claiming that his treatments save “money” or “sometimes a life.” In addition,

Respondent falsely claimed to have “treatment programs” that could “cure” certain forms of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney failure and other conditions. Such advertising preys on vulnerable people and shows that Respondent poses a serious danger to the public.

Respondent has also flagrantly violated the 1997 Order. Despite stipulating to and thus being clearly aware of its terms, Respondent violated five separate provisions of the 1997 Order on multiple occasions. Placing conditions on Respondent’s license was, obviously, not sufficient to prevent his further acts of misconduct.

Taking into account Respondent’s extensive disciplinary history, his failure or inability to rehabilitate himself and his serious misconduct demonstrated by the record in this matter, the Board has concluded that revocation of Respondent’s license is warranted and is necessary to protect the public.

On top of the sanctions from the Board of Chiropractic, Mr. Weisman was also accused of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and sanctioned by the court for this. The stipulation of the finding against him include a number directly related to the Evolution Diet he is still selling on the internet with all the same claims and false credentials, apparently in violation of this court order.

The order specifically forbids Mr. Weisman from making any claims related to preventing or treating disease in animals, including mentioning the “Evolution Diet Plan” by name. He is also forbidden from making any advertising claims that are “untruthful, misleading, or not substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence…” It appears Mr. Weisman and his Evolution Diet are yet another example of the failure of government regulation to effectively suppress even the most egregious and dishonest forms of quackery.

While I generally prefer to focus on the evidence and plausibility of particular claims rather than the people behind them, there can be no question in this case that the persistent and proven fraud Mr. Weisman has engaged in are relevant to any judgment about the product he is selling. If ever there were someone from whom one shouldn’t buy water in the desert, much less pet food, it is this man.

*http://www.mn-chiroboard.state.mn.us/Orders/SO%20Weisman%20Eric%20H%2097%2007%2017.pdf

http://www.mn-chiroboard.state.mn.us/Orders/SO%20Weisman%20Eric%20Revocation%20Order%2002%2011%2005.pdf

http://www.mn-chiroboard.state.mn.us/Orders/SO%20Weisman%20Eric%20H%2099%2009%2016.pdf

http://www.vetmed.state.mn.us/portals/22/weisman.pdf

http://www.oah.state.mn.us/aljBase/602015383.FDG.htm

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11 Responses to Evolution Diet Update: Selling Food with Fraud

  1. Bartimaeus says:

    It can take a very long time for a bad veterinarian or MD to loose their license, and I suspect the chiropractic board may be even more slow to act. In cases I am familiar with, the public record is usually just the tip of the iceberg, so a record of unethical and illegal behavior is probably not a bad thing to bring to people’s attention in this case.

  2. Moccasin says:

    Thanks for this article and for your great blog!

  3. Leo Saumure says:

    Great post. Kudos to the reader who investigated for you.

  4. v.t. says:

    skeptvet, have you reported this to the FDA-CVM? If not, perhaps you could, including a link to your article. Maybe they simply need to be reminded – although no excuse for not following up, perhaps they only need to be prompted.

  5. skeptvet says:

    Since the legal actions were all taken at the state level, I did file a report with the state attorney general of Minnesota pointing out that the Evolution Diet web site pretty clearly violates the terms of the permanant injunction issued by the superior court. It couldn’t hurt for them to get multiple complaints, though, so anyone who wants to can do so here: Minnesota Attorney General Consumer Complaints

  6. v.t. says:

    On the following page, there is some very telling evidence he is actually “practicing” veterinary medicine without a license. (see the phrase on the page “I sometimes use FDA-approved drugs”). He calls the animals he “works on”, his “patients”. He forms and concocts supplements and god knows what else, and “consults” by email, telephone, conferences, etc, and his butt is not in jail??!!

  7. v.t. says:

    I’ve also sent notice to the MN-Veterinary Board, whom I presume will also forward to the Attorney General.

  8. ellen says:

    skeptvet et al,

    speaking of food, what do you think of this new diagnostic food sensitivity screening test for dogs? ellen

    http://www.hemopet.org/files/Nutriscan%20Diagnostics.pdf

  9. skeptvet says:

    I have been able to find absolutely no published clinical research or scientific rationale for this test, and the dermatologists asked about it recently on the Veterinary Information Network site had never heard of it and were dubious. Salivary testing for allergies or toxins is often advertised as a tool used by naturopaths and other alternative practitioners, but neither the site selling the service nor a search of PubMed identified any evidence to support the idea. It may be there is something I’m missing, but it sure looks like an idea made up out of whole cloth and not scientifically validated.

  10. Pingback: Vegan Cats? | Skeptical Vegan

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