BATH COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) – Since October of 2015 Amish farmer, Samuel Girod has been facing a 12-count federal indictment. The charges against him include conspiracy, distributing misbranded drugs, and threatening a witness.
A federal judge in Missouri put an injunction in place, banning Girod from making some of his products until he met certain conditions. Part of those conditions were inspections of the property where Girod made his products which is where Kentucky comes into play.
Girod’s makes his products on the family farm along Satterfield Lane in Bath County. The farm is home to Girod and his wife, along with their 12 children and 25 grandchildren.
Due to their Amish religious beliefs, no one in the Girod family was able to talk with WKYT on camera. However, they told us they just want to see the leader of their family freed.
“I think everybody in the community has heard about it,” said Bath County resident, Suza Moody.
Many in Bath County are confused as one of their own sits in jail.
“I can’t even figure out what he has done wrong,” said Moody. “They live at the foot of the cross and the thought of one of them intentionally doing something wrong is outrageous.”
“They are just devastated. I mean when they brought him out in handcuffs. It was awful,” said family friend, Sally Oh.
One product at the center of the lengthy indictment is Girod’s Chickweed salve.
“Its ingredients include rosemary, beeswax, olive oil,” explained Oh.
Throughout the accusations, the FDA often took up an issue with the labeling of the products.
“It said ‘Chickweed Salve’ up top, then on down said ‘Cures Cancer.’ Which for some people it did, but he can’t say that. So he changed it to say ‘Healing Chickweed,’ but they said no you can’t say healing. So now it just says ‘Original Chickweed,'” explained Oh.
Moody said, “I mean do you go to jail because you’ve messed up a label on a product? I thought you went to jail because you did something bad. I mean he mislabeled something? I doubt he knew any better.”
The FDA says Girod also passed out pamphlets touting his products’ effectiveness in treating various conditions. It is because of those claims that under the federal food, drug, and cosmetic act the FDA says the products are defined as a drug even though multiple tests confirm the products do not contain drugs.
The FDA requires anyone who manufactures a defined drug to register their facility with them. The Girod farm is not registered.
“Sam has made this product for over 20 years, and he has never hurt anyone,” said Oh.
However, the indictment says this is much more than a labeling mistake. The allegations claim the product known as TO-MOR-GONE, which is said to be “very good at removing tumors,” used a bloodroot plant extract that has a corrosive effect on human skin.
Prosecutors pointed out that back in 2013, a federal judge in Missouri banned Girod from distributing these products until he met certain conditions. Those conditions include allowing the FDA to inspect where Girod made the goods. According to the indictment, the FDA says their officers were prevented from conducting an inspection at the farm. They also say Girod continued to sell the products without letting his customers know they were the subject of a court-ordered injunction.
“I feel like jail is for criminals. He might have done something wrong by the word of the law, but he is a far cry from a criminal,” said Moody.
Since the 2015 indictment, Girod who fired his appointed attorney and is now representing himself has been trying hard to clear his name. The Amish farmer filed a motion to dismiss his case, citing a lack of due process, lack of standing, and lack of jurisdiction. A judge denied the motion and set a status conference back in August.
“Sam is a very literal person. This hearing didn’t say, ‘Hey Sam you’ve got to be here.’ It just said there’s a status hearing in your case and he thought he didn’t have to show up. It was a mistake on his part, but because he is not an attorney, he just doesn’t understand,” explained Oh.
A warrant then issued for Girod’s arrest.
The Bath County Sheriff wrote a letter to those involved, saying he is concerned about the “ongoing ruthless and relentless attack against one of his constituents.” The letter went on to say Girod was in the protective custody of his office.
Girod was considered a fugitive for about five months before being arrested at his farm in early January. He is now in jail without bond awaiting his trial scheduled for late February.
“It is like a freight train out of control, there is no stopping it,” said Oh.
She says she believes the bottom line in this all is that “They are targeting the Amish because they don’t threaten. They don’t fight back, and they don’t like lawyers.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is saying that is far from the truth and that their primary and sole concern is protecting potential consumers. The office released the following statement:
“In cases like this, our interests are ensuring that drugs that are made available to the public are safe for consumption and ensuring the integrity of the judicial process.”
The first thing of note is that, when it comes to powerful well-funded federal agencies looking to set precedent, the Amish have a special target on their backs. Why? Because they generally don’t use lawyers which makes them easy prey. They don’t use lawyers because the Amish are self-sufficient, they know their constitutional rights and they are a peaceful community. They don’t fight back (unless lives are at stake).
The FDA is also after an enormously successful Amish farm in PA, Miller’s Organic Farm. Like Sam, the Millers have established a private club whereby only members can purchase products. As a member of Miller’s Organic Farm, I can order anything I want, including raw milk, that can be shipped to me anywhere in the country. (Read up on the Miller’s case here.)
The FDA hates private membership clubs because club sales and products are NOT subject to FDA rules and regulations! Private memberships are protected under the Constitution’s contract clause. I can contract with anyone I want, sell them anything I made or produced, and the state may not interfere. The state, of course, hates this kind of freedom and will do anything it can to pierce that veil. Including bankrupting businesses and jailing a peaceful farmer for the rest of his life.
The FDA also seems to have a special soft spot for bloodroot salves. They’ve been persecuting makers of bloodroot salves for decades, starting with Greg Caton, jailing him twice and driving him from the country. A quick search brought up this company as well.
- Why was Sam kept handcuffed during the hearing on Friday. Was he a flight risk or a danger to anyone? IMO, the gov was attempting to show Sam who’s the boss. Newsflash: the gov is not Sam’s boss.
- Why did the FDA wait so long to formally charge Sam? Most of his alleged crimes (Counts 1-11) took place between 9/2013 and 1/2014 with the M.M. situation (Count 12) in 12/2014. If Sam is so dangerous that he needs to be jailed for life… why did they wait for years to charge him?
Here comes the Girod indictment.
This is pretty long but a lot the counts are basically repeats with different dates. The gov likes to pad the bill so the defendant will take a plea.
Remember, folks, we are talking about a Chickweed Salve here along with two other equally benign, non-drug products that are for sale all over the world, that I and my friends have used with no ill-effects (in fact, to good effect). Is the purpose of this prosecution to protect the public or to punish those citizens who don’t kneel at the pointy end of a bureaucrat’s pen (and, in this case, firearm)?
The FDA vs Kentucky Amish Farmer Samuel A. Girod
Case: 5:15-cr-00087 GRAND JURY CHARGES (click here to download a pdf of the indictment)
- 1-16 are BACKGROUND.
- 17-44 are the COUNTS (charges)
- My notes are indented and in italics.
- Total possible prison time is 58 years
1. Defendant SAMUEL A. GIROD operated an establishment at 409 Satterfield Lane, Owingsville, KY 40360, which is in Bath County, in the Eastern District of Kentucky. This establishment, which did business under various names, including “Satterfield Naturals”, “S.A.E.G.”, and “A.M.S. Associates”, manufactured and marketed products for the treatment of various ailments, including skin disorders, cancer, and sinus infections.
2. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 301 et seq. (“FDCA”), existed to protect the health and safety of the American public by regulating the manufacture and distribution of all drugs shipped or received in interstate commerce. The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) was the federal agency charged with enforcing the FDCA.
NOTES: First of all, NONE of Sam’s products contain any drugs. Zero. The FDA tested all his products and Sam had an independent lab test all his products. No drugs. THIS IS CRITICAL. No drugs in anything.
While the FDA/FDCA can make labeling demands, they can’t accuse Sam of a crime having to do with manufacture or distribution of drugs if there aren’t any drugs in it. Once Sam changed his label to comply and once there were no drugs found in the ANY of the products, the FDA lost whatever jurisdiction it claimed.
3. The FDCA required persons who owned or operated an establishment engaged in the manufacture, preparation, propagation, compounding, or processing of a drug to register annually with the FDA. See 21 U.S.C. §§ 360(b)(l), (c)(l). Every establishment in which a drug was manufactured, processed, packed, or held, for introduction into interstate commerce or after such introduction was subject to inspection by the FDA. See 21 U.S.C. §§ 360(h)(l) and 374. GIROD did not register his establishment with the FDA.
NOTES: No drugs so no requirement to register.
4. GIROD manufactured and distributed a product called “Chickweed Healing Salve.” This product typically bore labeling claiming that the product was “[g]ood for skin disorders. Dry skin, cuts, burns, draws, and poison ivy.” In many cases, GIROD also distributed sales pamphlets touting the product’s effectiveness in treating skin cancer, diaper rash, fungus infections, and various other skin ailments.
NOTES: Per FDA demands, Sam changed his product labels for everything sold to the public. He even took the word “healing” off, so moot point.
5. GIROD manufactured and distributed a product called “TO-MOR-GONE.” This product typically bore labeling identifying the product as a “black salve” and a “natural herbal remedy.” In many cases, GIROD also distributed sales pamphlets touting the product’s effectiveness in removing warts, moles, and other skin growths, and stating: “TO-MOR-GONE is very good at removing tumors.” GIROD used an extract of the bloodroot plant (Sanguiniaria Canadensis) in TO-MOR-GONE. This ingredient was an escharotic agent, meaning that it had a caustic, corrosive effect on human skin.
NOTES: Again, he changed the label when told to do so. Bloodroot is not a drug, either, btw. It’s a PLANT used for thousands of years for HEALING purposes. Like a lot of other plants.
Bloodroot can have a caustic, corrosive effect on human skin, but that’s why we use it, lol. Bloodroot cures skin cancer because it burns off the cells. It’s also a drawing compound so it pulls the cancer cells to the surface, then kills them. People even take the stuff internally.
I and many of my friends have used bloodroot for years for small skin cancers, moles, small growths. Works like a charm and doesn’t leave a scar. Amazing stuff. I got mine (before I knew Sam) from altcancer.com formulated by Greg Caton, the first guy the FDA put in jail for bloodroot products.
6. GIROD manufactured and distributed a product called “R.E.P.” This product typically bore labeling that instructed the consumer as follows: “For sinus infection, put on forehead and cheeks. For breath freshener put drop on tongue.” In many cases, GIROD also distributed sales pamphlets touting the product’s effectiveness in treating sinus infections, cold symptoms, and sore throats.
NOTES: Sam took all the healing claims out of his literature for all products sold to the public. Sine Eze (the new name for R.E.P.) is amazing, by the way, a blend of essential oils. Love the stuff. Seriously. This has been sold for over 20 years, no drugs in it, Sam took all the healing claims out of the literature… where’s the beef?
7. The FDCA defined a “drug” as an article that was: (a) intended for use in the diagnosis. cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man; and/or (b) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man. See 21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(l)(B) and (C). Chickweed Healing Salve, TO-MOR-GONE, and R.E.P., were “drugs,” as defined within the FDCA.
NOTES: When Sam removed the offending language, those products were no longer able to be classified as drugs by the FDCA. Plus, the products were all tested by Sam and the FDA and no actual drugs were found.
8. The FDCA prohibited the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce (or the causing thereof) of any drug that was misbranded. See 21 U.S.C. § 33 l(a).
NOTES: Not drugs, branding corrected, no longer subject to FDCA/FDA regulations.
9. A drug was misbranded if it was manufactured, prepared, propagated, compounded, or processed in an establishment that was not registered with the FDA. See 21 U.S.C. § 352(0). Chickweed Healing Salve, TO-MOR-GONE, and R.E.P. were each manufactured, prepared, propagated, and processed in GIROD’s unregistered establishment and, thus, were each misbranded.
NOTES: Not drugs so establishment not required to be registered.
10. A drug was also misbranded unless its labeling contained “adequate directions for use.” 21 U.S.C. § 352(f)(l). Adequate directions for use were directions under which a layman “can use a drug safely and for the purposes for which it is intended.” 21 C.F.R. § 201.5. Chickweed Healing Salve and TO-MOR-GONE did not bear labeling containing adequate directions for use and, thus, were each misbranded.
NOTES: Not drugs so this requirement does not apply.
11. A drug was also misbranded unless its labeling contained a listing of each active ingredient. See 21 U.S.C. § 352(e)(l)(A)(ii). R.E.P. did not bear labeling that contained a listing of each active ingredient and, thus, was misbranded.
NOTES: Not drugs so labeling requirements do not apply.
12. A drug was also misbranded unless its labeling contained “such adequate warnings against use in those pathological conditions … where its use may be dangerous to health, or against unsafe dosage or methods or duration of administration or application, in such manner and form, as are necessary for the protection of users.” 21 U.S.C. § 352(f)(2). TO-MOR-GONE did not bear labeling warning of its caustic, corrosive effect on human skin and the scarring that could result. TO-MOR-GONE also did not bear labeling warning against its exclusive use to treat skin cancer. As such, TO-MOR-GONE was misbranded.
NOTES: Not a drug so labeling requirements do not apply. If bloodroot has its own requirements for labeling, I can’t find those requirements. That said, Sam has always complied with every labeling requirement for all products sold to the public and remains committed to doing so.
13. A drug was also misbranded if it was “dangerous to health when used in the dosage or manner, or with the frequency or duration prescribed, recommended, or suggested in the labeling thereof.” 21 U.S.C. § 352(j). TO-MOR-GONE was dangerous to health when used in the dosage, manner, frequency, and duration that was recommended and suggested in the labeling and, thus, was misbranded.
NOTES: See previous NOTES.
14. On or about September 17, 2013, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri entered an order (hereinafter, “the injunction”) permanently restraining and enjoining GIROD from manufacturing, processing, packaging, labeling, holding, selling, or distributing certain products, until various conditions were met. The products covered by the injunction included Chickweed Healing Salve, TO-MOR- GONE, R.E.P., and any other products similar in composition or effect to Chickweed Healing Salve, TO-MOR-GONE, or R.E.P. The conditions under which the injunction could be lifted included: (a) GIROD’s removal from his products, labels, labeling, and promotional materials, of all claims that caused Chickweed Healing Salve, TO-MOR- GONE, and R.E.P. to be “drugs” within the meaning of the FDCA; (b) GIROD’s removal of all extracts or components of bloodroot plant (Sanguiniaria Canadensis) from his products intended for human use; (c) the FDA’s inspection of GIROD’s establishment; and (d) the FDA’s notification to GIROD of his compliance with the terms of the injunction.
NOTES: Sam obeyed the injunction as follows:
a) Changed the labeling on all products sold to the public as ordered.
b) Stopped making the salve. I’m not sure how the FDA can require this since there are bloodroot salves for sale online… even on Amazon.
c) Allowed the inspection. I’m wondering where the FDA gets its authority to demand a search when the products don’t fall under their jurisdiction?
d) Stopped manufacturing, processing, packaging, labeling, holding, selling, or distributing certain products until a, b and c were met. He’s still not doing any manufacturing or selling which, of course, puts a cramp in the family finances.
Wondering also where the FDA gets its authority to enforce an injunction when products don’t fall under its jurisdiction.
15. The injunction pennitted [FDA typo] the FDA to inspect GIROD’s establishment, without prior notice and when reasonably deemed necessary, for five years from the date of entry of the order. Among other things, the injunction provided that these inspections would include reasonable and immediate access to buildings, equipment, raw ingredients, in-process materials, finished products, containers, packing material, labeling, and other material therein.
NOTES: Really? What gives the FDA the authority to demand this for products outside of their jurisdiction? Yes, I’m asking the same question over and over again.
16. Following the injunction, GIROD continued to manufacture, market, and distribute, in interstate commerce, Chickweed Healing Salve, TO-MOR-GONE, R.E.P., and other products similar in composition and effect. GIROD did not inform the purchasers of these products that he was under a court ordered injunction and was prohibited from distributing these products.
NOTES: I don’t believe this is true, that Sam defied the injunction, but there are a couple of points to be made here:
1. All together now: these products are not drugs so outside FDA jurisdiction.
2. There were stores all over the country selling Sam’s products. He didn’t know the names of all these stores or even the sellers. Sometimes people would come to Sam and buy lots of bulk product and drive away. That those products were still on the shelves in Podunk, Alaska is simply out of Sam’s control.
3. In the COUNTS below are several claims by the FDA that Sam continued to sell product to the public. I don’t know if that’s true but I doubt it. Sam stopped selling to the public. He did have a private membership club. That is perfectly legal although the FDA hates these clubs. Maybe these sales were through the club and the FDA is neglecting to mention that?
4. Of note is that, at this moment, the FDA is also pursuing Miller’s Organic Farm in PA for selling raw milk and organic home-processed foods all over the country. The Millers do this through their private membership club. The FDA wants to pierce this and end these clubs once and for all.
5. Remember that we are talking about a Chickweed Salve here. Is the purpose of this indictment to protect the public or to punish those citizens who don’t kneel at the pointy end of a bureaucrat’s pen (and, in this case, firearm)?
COUNT 1: Not more than 6 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and 3 years supervised release
COUNT 2: Not more than 5 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and 3 years supervised release.
COUNTS 3-11: Not more than 3 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and I year supervised release.
COUNT 12: Not more than 20 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and 3 years supervised release.
PLUS: Mandatory special assessment of $100 per count.
PLUS: Restitution, if applicable.
The State of Kentucky must have a grudge against Amish people in 2011, a county judge sent eight men from conservative sect to jail for refusing to fix warning triangles to their horse-drawn buggies – then refuse to pay fine.
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