Sam Girod, an Amish farmer from Kentucky, has been running his small business selling natural salves made from herbs such as chickweed (which seem to help relieve many skin conditions, including allergic rashes, psoriasis, poison oak and even skin cancers) for 15 years. He has no criminal record, is 56 years old and the father to 12 children and yet the FDA wants to put him in jail- for up to 48 years. Yet another story that I couldn’t make up…
A simple search on Amazon (I did this myself) will bring up pages of products using chickweed and may of those products contain testimonials from users about its benefits, even how it cured their skin cancer. BUT, the cancer industry is a profit machine and the FDA has been cracking down on people and businesses who use language to suggest cancer can be cured naturally. About 12 years ago, the FDA did just that with Sam- they went after him for stating that his salve for effective for skin cancer, so he removed “skin cancer” from the label and anything else it was on. He renamed his salve, “Chickweed Healing Salve”.
But four years ago, a local health department official saw Mr. Girod’s products on display in a Missouri town’s convenience store, and reported him to a state health department official. The agency referred the matter to the FDA who then seized the products from the store; now at issue was the fact that the product and its display included testimonials- which meant he needed to register it as a drug (Editors Note: WHAT? People are dying and THIS is what they choose to spend their time on?).
From the article:
“According to a 2012 FDA announcement, “FDA requested the seizure….because the products claim to treat or cure diseases but have not received FDA approval, and are not exempt from such approval requirements. Moreover…..the seized products contain ingredients that could cause toxic or allergic reactions in consumers sensitive to these ingredients. According to the federal complaint, Chickweed Healing Salve contains comfrey, which may increase the risk of systemic toxicity, and To-More-Gone contains bloodroot, a caustic, corrosive substance that produces a thick scar that can mask tumor recurrence.”
The FDA said in its 2012 announcement about seizing Girod’s products that it had responded “to a consumer complaint regarding the product Chickweed Healing Salve and claims in pamphlets that stated the product helps treat skin cancer. A previous complainant used the product on skin cancer on her leg…..and the product reportedly made her condition worse, requiring medical treatment.” It isn’t clear if the “consumer complaint” was from the local or state public health official who alerted the FDA. Girod’s lawyer, McFarland, said he hadn’t been able to obtain information from the FDA about who might have complained, or the specifics of the complaint.
Girod says he’s never received a consumer complaint, aside from someone saying the salve produced a burning sensation. “I have 50 or 60 written testimonials on how chickweed helped their skin cancer,” says Girod.”
If all this seems crazy, we aren’t done.
The FDA then seized the product in 2012 and filed an injunction to prohibit its sale because of its new name, “Chickweed Healing Salve”, as you may have guessed, they objected t the word “healing”. Mr. Girod renamed his product yet again before eventually settling on its current name, “Original Chickweed”.
Because all that drama wasn’t enough for the FDA they sent two agents to his Kentucky farm in 2013. Mr. Girod recalls that they sat on the front porch and worked out an agreement: the agents would return to his farm a few weeks later, while he was producing the product and search his production area- with the understanding they not take any photos (the Amish have an aversion to cameras for cultural and religious reasons). He assumed they could inspect and take any needed notes without taking photos. The agents returned a few weeks later and immediately pulled out their cameras.
They returned in November of 2013 and, spotting them a couple miles from his home,
Girod refused them access to his farm (of interesting note, they had no warrant). As you might imagine, this angered them so much that he is now facing this ridiculous federal grand jury indictment. The trial is set to begin in April.
More from the article:
“The main clues to the agency’s irritation come in the first two counts of the indictment, worth potentially 11 years in prison and $500,000 in fines— related to the unfortunate agent visits. And apparently the rest of the charges, related to selling unregistered drugs in unregistered facilities, were upgraded to felony counts as well—heavy penalties for refusing a search by government agents. According to the indictment, Girod “knowingly and willfully conspired with others to prevent, by force, intimidation, and threat, FDA Compliance Safety Officers (“CSOs”) N.L.P. and M.D.S. (two investigators) from discharging the duties of their offices, trust, and places of confidence under the United States; and to induce, by force, intimidation, and threat, FDA CSOs N.L.P. and M.D.S. to leave the place where their duties as officers of the United States were required to be performed.”
It adds that “the manner and means used to accomplish the objectives of the conspiracy included, among others, the following: “Members of the conspiracy, including Girod, physically surrounded N.L.P. and M.D.S. when they arrived to inspect Girod’s establishment pursuant to the injunction. “Members of the conspiracy, including Girod, obstructed N.L.P.’s and M.D.S.’s attempts to gather information about Girod’s establishment.”
Just for good measure, the twelfth and last count of the indictment, carrying a possible penalty of 20 years in prison, charges that Girod “threatened” a witness who was testifying in the grand jury investigation. It isn’t clear what the threat was. Girod says he has no idea, either. He said he didn’t try to discourage any witnesses subpoenaed before the grand jury to testify.”
Sadly, none of this is unbelievable. We in the health community have been watching the FDA, CDC, AMA and others attempt to take away or restrict products and therapies that we know work and quite frankly, that we choose to use, for years. It seems the more youchoose to exert personal choice, especially if the FDA isn’t going to get a cut, the more you become a target. We will be watching this case and wish Mr. Girod and his lawyer the best of luck. Perhaps someone should start a Go Fund Me for this poor man and his family.