Northwest Natural Products brings in firm to defend lead allegations

PASADENA, CA: Northwest Natural Products, a children's vitamin-maker, has brought in crisis management agency Lexicon Communications to allay fears around the lead content of its Gummy Vite product.

PASADENA, CA: Northwest Natural Products, a children's vitamin-maker, has brought in crisis management agency Lexicon Communications to allay fears around the lead content of its Gummy Vite product.

The company is contending that the lead allegations, brought by Consumerlabs.com, a watchdog group, are patently false.

Steven Fink, president of Lexicon, said that he could not discuss all of the details of the PR campaign, but noted that the company is working to make public independent lab reports that found no lead in its Gummy Vite vitamins.

In interviews with Oprah's O magazine and ABC's Good Morning America, Consumerlabs.com president Todd Cooperman alleged that the vitamins contained a dangerous amount of lead.

"From a public relations point of view, [Consumerlabs.com has launched] a very effective, very orchestrated attack on our client for the sole purpose of their own personal enrichment," Fink said, adding that that he has presented the news organizations with "demonstrable proof" that the products are safe.

In response to the PR campaign, Good Morning America withdrew the story from its website and launched its own investigation.

ABC's media relations department did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Consumerlabs.com issued its own rebuttal in a press release, calling Northwest Natural Product's campaign "deceptive public relations" and "libelous."

Fink cited a "panic among consumers" stemming from the allegations.

"[Reporters] have their press releases and have run with them without doing any sort of research," he said.

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