Monday, July 03, 2017

Amish man gets six years in prison for misbranded herbal health products, blocking probe

A sampling of Samuel Girod's products
Samuel A. Girod of Bath County, Kentucky, was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday for selling homemade herbal health products that investigators say were sometimes dangerous, reports Greg Kocher of The Lexington Herald-Leader.

Girod, 57, a member of the Old Order Amish Faith, was convicted March 13 on charges of making misbranded products, impeding an investigation, and witness tampering.

From his Bath County business, Girod made and sold herbal medicines and salves, including one that he claimed cured cancer. One product, TO-MOR-GONE, contained an extract of bloodroot that was corrosive to skin, Kocher reports.

Prosecutors alleged that Girod refused to obey court orders to stop selling the products and would not allow Food and Drug Administration officials to inspect his business, notes a report from The Associated Press. Girod had been ordered by a Missouri judge to stop selling his products until he complied with federal labeling and advertisement guidelines.

Many people see Girod as a symbol of government overreach; more than 27,000 people signed a petition asking to have him released from jail. According to Kocher, about 75 of his supporters gathered outside the federal courthouse in downtown Lexington the day of the sentencing.

Girod, who represented himself in court, argued that requiring FDA inspection of his products is a violation of his religious freedom, since Amish people try to shun the modern world, including modern medicine. He also said that herbal remedies are not drugs, and therefore shouldn't be subject to FDA inspection.

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