‘Myths, Gimmicks, and Pseudoscience’: Everlywell Food Sensitivity Tests Don’t Work, Class Action Says
A proposed class action filed this week alleges Everlywell Food Sensitivity Tests are “worthless” given that they cannot identify adverse food sensitivities as advertised.
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The 47-page lawsuit alleges defendants Everly Well, Inc. and Everly Health, Inc. have used false and misleading marketing to trick consumers into buying Everlywell’s purportedly “physician-approved” and “CLIA-certified” at-home food sensitivity lab test kits. Contrary to these representations, the case says, the worldwide scientific community “universally” agrees that the product is incapable of providing medically accepted health information about a user’s “sensitivity” or “reactivity” to certain foods.
The result, the complaint relays, is that consumers nationwide have paid more than $100 for a test with no diagnostic value—and that may even prove harmful to their health. According to the suit, it’s possible that an Everlywell test will provide a consumer with “phony diagnoses and misinformation” advising them to incorporate allergens into their diet.
“No reasonable consumer would pay money for a ‘food sensitivity’ kit that is ineffective in predicting adverse food sensitivities, the very thing for which the Test Kits are named,” the suit says. “The Test Kits thus do not provide anything of value to a reasonable consumer and are worthless.”
What’s more, consumers are not told until after they’ve purchased their kits that they cannot receive their test results until they agree to allow the defendants to retain, use and sell their private data, including medical information extracted from the blood samples test takers provide, the filing alleges.
“Ultimately, Defendants are selling expensive snake oil and earning massive profits from the sale, while also acquiring for no cost valuable Private Consumer Data, which they claim to have a right to use for their own purposes and profit,” the suit summarizes.
Nothing more than ‘pseudoscience,’ the case says
Both the original and “comprehensive” versions of the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test, which respectively test for sensitivities to 96 or 206 different foods, purportedly derive their results by measuring heightened immunoglobulin G antibody (IgG) levels in the blood, the lawsuit relays.
Per the complaint, however, there exists no scientific proof that the type of IgG testing sold by Everly Well and Everly Health can identify food sensitivities. Rather, the case says that the tests are widely recognized by medical professionals as no more than “myths, gimmicks, and pseudoscience.”
For one, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that the production of IgG, the most common type of antibody found in the blood, is a normal, physiologic immune system response to the recent consumption of food, the suit says.
At most, “measuring IgG shows what people have eaten in the past, with higher levels tied to foods that are consumed more than others,” the case reads. “Higher IgG levels do not mean an individual is intolerant or sensitive to a particular food.”
Contrary to the defendants’ testing methods, higher IgG levels may in fact indicate that an individual has a higher tolerance, not intolerance, to a particular food, the filing says.
Because the Everlywell test is capable of identifying only whether an individual has eaten a particular food recently, test results may falsely indicate that the user has an adverse food sensitivity when, in truth, they don’t, the case says.
On the flip side, an individual may be adversely sensitive (or even allergic) to certain foods, but have no heightened IgG level simply because the food has not been regularly consumed prior to the blood sample being taken. In such a scenario, by reporting no heightened IgG levels, Defendants’ Food Sensitivity Test Kits would falsely indicate that an individual has no food sensitivity when in fact they do and may actually need immediate medical attention."
The plaintiff, a Massachusetts consumer, says she had eaten eggs the night before she took an Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test in August 2022 and experienced no discomfort, but the lab results indicated that she had a sensitivity to the food.
Perhaps most concerning is the possibility that a test may inform an individual that they are tolerant of a particular food when, in reality, they are not, the case says. According to the filing, the Everlywell test marked shellfish as a safe food for the plaintiff, even though the woman has a known allergy to the food.
As stressed by the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, IgG testing is particularly dangerous for people at significant risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis since the test may lead them to believe that they can reintroduce potentially deadly foods into their diets, the suit relays.
Inaccurate test results could also cause a consumer to adopt unnecessary, disruptive dietary restrictions, or prevent them from seeking treatment for the real source of their symptoms, the filing contends.
For these reasons, the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has deemed IgG testing “irrelevant for the laboratory work-up of food allergy or intolerance and should not be performed in case of food related complaints,” the case says.
At no point is any of the foregoing information disclosed to consumers by Everlywell, the lawsuit says.
“Nowhere on the package do Defendants disclose that the Test may only measure a normal biological reaction or otherwise suggest to a consumer that the Tests are unreliable and unproven at identifying food allergies and insensitivities,” the complaint claims.
The defendants’ hide data privacy policies, case says
The lawsuit takes further issue with the defendants’ alleged failure to inform consumers who purchase Everlywell lab kits from third-party retailers that they cannot access the test results until they agree to give the companies broad rights to use their personal data.
Per the suit, instructions inside the box inform consumers that their test results will not be released until they register the test on Everlywell.com and consent to additional terms and conditions that allow the defendants to use test takers’ personal information for research, marketing and promotional purposes. To make matters worse, consumers are not permitted to return their kits after purchase, the suit says.
“So not only are consumers paying for Defendants’ worthless Test, they are also providing Defendants with valuable data for Defendants’ own personal gain for free, a fact that is not adequately disclosed prior to purchase, if at all,” the suit stresses.
Who does the lawsuit aim to cover?
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone who purchased an Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test Kit for personal, family, or household use during the applicable statute of limitations period, except for those who purchased the test in the state of Texas.
How do I join the lawsuit?
When a proposed class action is first filed, there’s typically nothing affected individuals need to do to join or be included in the lawsuit. If the case moves through the legal process and settles, those who are impacted by the allegations, i.e., the “class members,” may be notified directly and will likely need to fill out and file a claim form online or by mail.
If you’ve bought an Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test Kit, or simply want to stay in the loop on class action lawsuit and settlement news, sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter.
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