Pete Evans fined $25k over coronavirus light machine claims
Chef Pete Evans has been slapped with $25,000 in fines over magical coronavirus eradication properties he claimed about a "BioCharger" device in a Facebook livestream promotion.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has issued two infringement notices to the controversial health guru after receiving complaints about his promotion of the $14,990 machine.
In the April 9 livestream on his Facebook page, which has 1.4 million followers, Evans described the gadget as a "hybrid subtle energy revitalisation platform".
"It's programmed with a thousand different recipes and there's a couple in there for the Wuhan coronavirus," Evans said in the video.
His Facebook page claimed the device, which looks like a food processor with a light in it, could replicate light, frequencies, harmonics, pulsed electromagnetic fields and voltage that are found in nature.
Evans was widely criticised after the video was broadcast.
In a statement announcing the two infringement fines totalling the $25,000, the TGA said "claims that the device could be used in relation to 'Wuhan coronavirus' … has no apparent foundation … which the TGA takes extremely seriously".
"Any claim that references COVID-19 is a restricted representation under therapeutic goods legislation, and is of significant concern to the TGA given the heightened public concern about the pandemic," the TGA said in a statement.
"The TGA recently published a warning to advertisers and consumers about illegal advertising relating to COVID-19."
The TGA issue a second infringement notice for alleged advertising breaches on the website www.peteevans.com for other claims about the BioCharger.
The website claimed the device was "proven to restore strength, stamina, co-ordination and mental clarity" and in "sharpening your mental clarity".
Evans' site also claimed the gadget helped "recovery … from an injury, stress" and
"accelerating muscle recovery and reducing stiffness in joints".
The TGA issued the fines to Evans' company, Peter Evans Chef Pty Ltd.
The TGA said that as "BioCharger device has been represented by (Evans' company) as being for therapeutic uses, it is a therapeutic good within the meaning of the Act" and subject to TGA regulation.
"Unless a specific exemption applies, therapeutic goods must be entered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) before they can be lawfully supplied or advertised in Australia," it said.
"The TGA regulates all medicines, medical devices and biologicals under the Act. The regulatory scheme is important to the safety of Australian consumers, and the TGA investigates suspected illegal activity related to therapeutic goods.
"The TGA is monitoring noncompliance, particularly in relation to the advertising of products that claim to prevent or cure COVID-19.
"(The TGA) will continue to take action in relation to any advertisements that do not meet the requirements, including those that seek to mislead consumers."
Originally published as Pete Evans fined $25k over virus claims