Fact checks on health products and scams

FACT CHECK: Unregistered barley grass powder not endorsed by Doc Willie Ong, Kilimanguru

Rappler.com

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FACT CHECK: Unregistered barley grass powder not endorsed by Doc Willie Ong, Kilimanguru
Navitas Barley Grass Powder, which claims to detox the body and provide various health benefits, is not on the Philippine Food and Drug Administration’s list of registered products

Claim: Physicians and online health personalities Dr. Willie Ong and Winston Kilimanjaro Tiwaquen, known as Dr. Kilimanguru, endorse Navitas Barley Grass Powder, a product marketed with claims of detoxification and various health benefits.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook video bearing the claim has over 187,000 views, 2,000 reactions, 434 comments, and 100 shares as of writing. It was posted by a Facebook page named “Dr. Willie One – Healthy Care”  which has 49 likes and 91 followers. 

The video’s caption claims that Navitas Barley Grass Powder has helped celebrities like Sharon Cuneta and Angel Locsin achieve their fitness goals. The product is also recognized by Ong and Dr. Kilimanguru, according to the post.

A comment on the post also featured a photograph of Ong and his wife, Liza Ong, showcasing the product.

The facts: Neither Ong nor Kilimanguru endorse Navitas Barley Grass Powder. 

The image shown in the comments seemingly depicting the Ong couple with the product is a digitally altered version of a photograph from Philstar Global’s article. The photo was edited to replace Liza Ong’s thumbs-up gesture with a box of the barley grass powder, creating the impression that they endorse the product.

The video was also posted by a Facebook page posing as the account of the Ong couple. Ong’s official page has 17 million followers and bears a verified badge.

Meanwhile, Dr. Kilimanguru posted a video in September 2023 refuting claims that he endorses the product. 

Not FDA registered: Navitas Barley Grass Powder is not on the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s list of approved food products.

In August 2023, the FDA released an advisory warning the public against purchasing and consuming the unregistered food product.

ALSO ON RAPPLER

Under Republic Act No. 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009, the sale and distribution of unauthorized health products is strictly prohibited.

The FDA recommends verifying a product’s registration status using the FDA Verification Portal before making any purchase. 

Previous false claims: Ong’s name and videos have been misused in numerous advertisements promoting various health products without his endorsement or authorization. He has repeatedly said that he does not endorse the products attributed to him.

Rappler has previously debunked a similar ad for Navitas Barley Grass Powder as well as other products using Ong and Kilimanguru in false endorsements: 

– Marie Flor Cabarrubias/Rappler.com

Marie Flor Cabarrubias is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to the #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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