A federal court set a temporary restraining order against a Florida church on Friday, ordering it to stop selling what is essentially the equivalent of industrial bleach as a treatment and prevention of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The Genesis II Church of Health and Healing and individual defendants Mark Grenon, Joseph Grenon, Jordan Grenon, and Jonathan Grenon have been ordered to halt sales of its “Miracle Mineral Solution” (MMS) until May 1, when a hearing will determine if it can be extended.
“The FDA has not approved Genesis’s product for any use, despite the defendants’ claims that these products can be used to cure, mitigate, treat or prevent diseases such as COVID-19, Alzheimer’s, autism, brain cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS,” the FDA said in a news release. ” … The agency is not aware of any scientific evidence supporting the safety or efficacy of MMS to treat any disease and there are no approved drug applications in effect for the defendants’ MMS.”
The Bradenton church sells the product in “sacramental kits” that include a two ounce bottle of MMS — sodium chlorite — and a two ounce bottle of an “activator” — hydrochloric acid. When the two are mixed together, the product has “a chlorine dioxide content equivalent to industrial bleach.”
The FDA warned the church last week about their fraudulent claims, according to CBS News, but Mark Grenon responded “with open defiance.”
“We can say cure, heal and treat as a Free Church,” he wrote. “Don’t need you [sic] approval or authorization for a Church Sacrament … There will be NO corrective actions on our part … You have no authority over us! … Never going to happen.”
The FDA has been warning about MMS products, sold as Miracle Mineral Supplement, MMS, Chlorine Dioxide Protocol, or Water Purification Solution, since 2010. In 2015, Louis Daniel Smith, who sold an MMS solution through a company called Project GreenLife, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit multiple crimes, three counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with intent to defraud or mislead and one count of fraudulently smuggling merchandise into the United States. He was sentenced to more than four years in prison.
Genesis does not sell MMS directly. Instead, it calls its product a “sacrament” and asks for donations. The FDA, which says the product can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
“Despite a previous warning, the Genesis II Church of Healing has continued to actively place consumers at risk by peddling potentially dangerous and unapproved chlorine dioxide products,” the FDA said. “We will not stand for this, and the FDA remains fully committed to taking strong enforcement action against any sellers who place unsuspecting American consumers at risk by offering their unproven products to treat serious diseases.”
The FDA has previously sent warning letters to groups and individuals selling other products as a “cure” for coronavirus, including colloidal silver, teas, and essential oils.
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[Featured image: FDA]