Chicago cracks down on nutrition clubs, many selling Herbalife

Chicago officials are cracking down on popular “nutrition clubs” after an I-Team investigation started looking into the growing trend.

A hidden camera into some of these clubs revealed what was beyond the full-speed blenders making shakes and the supplements for sale.

The I-Team discovered that some of these nutrition clubs are unlicensed and unregulated while serving various brands of shakes and supplements. And there are questions surrounding others.

“Yes, they did tell her specifically that these products would cure these illnesses and to tell people that these products will help them control these illnesses,” Alicia Aguyo, a former nutrition club employee said through an interpreter.

When asked if illness such as cancer, Aguyo said “like cancer, like diabetes, like AIDS.”

Aguyo said she worked at a nutrition club in Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood which the city said never had a license and is now believed to be closed. Aguyo said the independent owner of the club told her to show customers a handout suggesting that some of the Herbalife supplements could be used to treat diseases.

Herbalife said their distributors are “prohibited from” making health claims “that link” their “products to the cure or treatment of a disease” and that the brochure is not from them, adding that “Herbalife nutrition clubs are run by individual small business owners who receive training and support.”

After the I-Team inquired, Herbalife acknowledged that 38 in Chicago are unlicensed. They said that they’ve been suspended and the company has stopped supplying those clubs with product.

However, the I-Team found an unlicensed Herbalife club in the 4200-block of South Archer Avenue.

Any business that serves shakes has to have a food retail license and is required to pass inspections through the city of Chicago health department. The following is an exchange with a woman at a nutrition club.

Jason Knowles: Do you have a business license?
Woman: Yeah
Knowles: Can you show it to us?

Woman: I’m…

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