Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Letter to Australian Department of Health Therapeutic Goods

Letter to Australian Department of Health Therapeutic Goods

April 1, 2014

Dear Madam/Sir,

My name is Amy Cunningham and I am a mother of children who have suffered from eating disorders.  I'm also part of a wider community of activists addressing issues of access to prevention, treatment, policy change.

Several months ago a group of mothers living in Australia and beyond became aware of two Australian based companies who do the majority of their advertising on youtube, instagram, Twitter, facebook and website.  They are easily searchable on those sites as Nick Ritchie and Freelee The Banana Girl.

Neither of these companies have any medical or clinical certification yet dispense medical and nutritional advice freely.  Both have dangerous triggering content on their videos and sites.  Freelee for example promotes young girls to strive for a 'Thigh Gap' which is a dangerous pro-anorexia rhetoric. She has over 100,000 followers in total and actively recruits people into a Fruit Only diet.   This is extremely dangerous.  Both groups refuse to dialogue with consumers, often berating and harassing those who question their approaches.  

What are the legal and regulatory approaches to address these groups? They 'sell' books and products but they are not medicines per se. They seem to have absolutely no controls and actively target people who are vulnerable to eating disorders.  This seems to us to be egregious and dangerous marketing.

Can you please advise us of the approach to report these groups. 

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