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ONE BAD EGG

Goop will refund purchases of its vaginal eggs as part of a settlement over unscientific claims

By Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz

Goop’s vaginal eggs are at the center of a $145,000 civil settlement made by the company yesterday (Sept. 4) following a lawsuit brought by the California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force.

The suit alleges that Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness company (paywall) sold health products using medical claims unsupported by “competent and reliable science.” The products in question include egg-shaped jade and rose quartz stones, meant to be inserted into the vagina. Goop claimed the eggs help regulate hormones and menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control.

Goop’s “yoni eggs” are made by actress and blogger Shiva Rose, who said over emails that she sources the jade from Canada. They were often sold alongside Goop’s Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend, a flower tincture that the company asserted could help counter depression.

In addition to the $145,000 in penalties, Goop agreed to refund customers the full purchase price of egg products bought on or between Jan. 12 and Aug. 31, 2017.

Goop has long been accused of peddling pseudoscience, and is under pressure to improve transparency around its many health and wellness claims. In June, the company announced that it would begin clearly labeling wellness stories to differentiate articles with no scientific support from those supported by research. More recently, after Goop raised $50 million in venture capital and started planning an international expansion, Paltrow announced that it would be hiring a fact-checker, calling the decision a “necessary growing pain.”

In a statement sent by email, a Goop representative called the lawsuit an “honest disagreement,” adding that it is “solely about advertising claims and not about the actual products.” (Goop also used the statement to introduce “a new wellness portal,” staffed by researchers, product safety experts, and Chinese-medicine doctors.)

While the yoni-egg fiasco is a financial blow for Goop, it may be an overall win. As one of Goop’s first claims to controversial fame, the eggs have garnered a substantial amount of press, ultimately raising the brand’s profile. As the saying goes: You’ve got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette.