RALEIGH, N.C. — Channel 9 anchor Allison Latos has reported on several stories of people who claim a tea they drank to lose weight caused them to fail drug tests and lose their jobs.
Allison -- the first reporter in the country to break the news of their claims -- has been pushing for answers for months, and recently tracked down the company’s CEO in North Carolina.
When Channel 9 learned Jack Fallon, the CEO of Total Life Changes, would be in Raleigh to promote his products, Allison hit the road to ask him point blank if he knew there could be trace amounts of THC in the tea, and what his company was doing about the customers who claim drinking it ruined their lives.
Channel 9 tracked Fallon down outside a Raleigh hotel and questioned him about customers’ complaints that using the company’s raspberry lemonade Iaso Tea caused them to fail drug tests and lose their jobs.
“What would you say to customers who say that their lives and livelihoods have been ruined by this?” Allison asked. “Is TLC going to help remedy this, help them get their jobs back?”
(WATCH FULL INTERVIEW: Total Life Changes CEO Jack Fallon)
Fallon said the company would help.
“Absolutely -- like I said, we are in constant communication with them,” he told Channel 9. “We are meeting in New York on August 2nd with a handful of them.”
The raspberry lemonade tea was marketed on the company’s website, and on the label, as having 0.0% THC -- the chemical found in marijuana.
But Channel 9 took samples to a Durham lab for testing. The director said those tests showed trace amounts of THC, which he said -- with repeated consumption -- could build up in a person’s system, potentially causing them to fail a drug test.
Allison questioned Fallon about those findings.
“Did you know there could be trace amounts in that product?” she asked.
“No. We use third party manufacturers all over the world. We trusted them and obviously we got let down in some of these instances,” he said.
‘It’s tarnishing for me’
Fallon told Channel 9 that TLC stopped working with one of those manufacturers, but some customers, like Jennifer Montgomery, say that’s not enough.
“I’m very upset and disappointed,” Montgomery told Channel 9.
She lives in St. Louis and is the latest TLC customer to contact Allison.
“I started researching and I saw your article,” she said.
Montgomery claimed she had used TLC’s raspberry lemonade tea for nearly five months to lose weight. She then got a new job as a truck driver earlier this month but failed the drug test before she could even start.
“They don’t want to hear it. They have taken my license. Now they’re saying I have to go through some type of drug classes,” Montgomery told Channel 9. “I’m a mother and I promote to my children, don’t do drugs, this, that or whatever. I constantly do that. And then to have a false drug use case on you. I’ve never been the type to do drugs -- it is tarnishing for me.”
Montgomery’s story is similar to those of dozens of customers now suing Total Life Changes, claiming they trusted the 0.0% THC advertising on the label.
“I would have never purchased that tea,” Montgomery said.
Fallon defended his product, though, telling Channel 9 that TLC’s own tests did not detect THC, before insinuating that the customers’ surroundings could be the source.
“The world is changing in the U.S. This is all legal,” he said. “So, be aware if you’re at a cookout. Be aware if you’re in a cafe. Does that make sense?”
“These people are telling us they did not get a second-hand high. They took your product to lose weight, believing that it had 0.0 percent THC and at the end of the day, lost their jobs, careers,” Allison pressed. “A couple of people lost federal licenses to work for airlines, in the nuclear industry. Those are life changing experiences -- not in a good way they were anticipating, but in a way they say ruined their lives.”
“Absolutely, and like I say, we’re not hiding from that,” Fallon answered. “And we’re in communication with them.”
Channel 9 has confirmed that TLC and some of the customers suing them will be meeting with a mediator in New York next month.
TLC no longer advertises its raspberry lemonade tea as having 0.0 percent THC, and since Allison’s first report on this issue in March, the company website now includes a disclaimer, saying people subject to drug testing should drink it.
(WATCH BELOW: 9 Investigates: Lawsuits grow as more women claim weight loss tea led to failed drug tests)
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