PhotoBack in the day, about the only people who even thought about drinking cactus juice were prospectors and pioneers who'd gotten lost in the desert. But times have changed and now you can order a whopping four-pack of 32-ounce bottles of Nopalea cactus juice from a company called TriVita.

Why would you want to do that?

Well, according to the company's website, its cactus juice from the blazing hot Sonora Desert of southern Arizona is downright anti-inflammatory. You know, sort of like it fights fire with fire.

Or as TriVita puts it: "Featuring the superfruit of the prickly pear (nopal) cactus, it contains a powerful class of nutrients called Bioflavonoids."

Checks being mailed

Could be but the Federal Trade Commission is mailing nearly 500,000 checks totaling about $3 million to consumers who actually ordered the stuff and, presumably, drank it based on TriVita's claims that the juice, sold under the name Nopalea, would treat a variety of health problems.

In July 2014, the FTC settled charges against TriVita Inc. for using unsupported product claims to deceive consumers, including infomercials with testimonials from consumers who received a commission for selling its products.

The stuff is still being sold but its promoters are, one hopes, being more circumspect in their claims. 

What to do

If you get one of the checks, from the FTC's administrator, Gilardi & Co. LLC, it should be deposited or cashed right away, no later than within 60 days of the mailing date. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or to provide information before refund checks can be cashed. The amount will vary based upon the amount of each consumer’s loss.


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