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Chicken-feet healing product seized

By
D'VERA COHN

WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration is considering a nationwide recall of a wound-healing product made from chicken feet and has already seized $155,000 worth of the substance due to bacterial contamination.

The product -- Revital -- is a poultice applied to open wounds, such as cold sores, to speed healing by drawing out moisture. It is made from chicken feet.

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Marshals armed with a federal court order seized supplies of Revital powder and gel Wednesday from Robertson Resources Ltd., a Salisbury, Md., manufacturer, FDA spokesman Bruce M. Brown said Thursday.

The product is also sold as a tablet to be dissolved in water.

The seizure followed FDA laboratory tests that found the product was contaminated, he said. The investigation was prompted by calls from officials in Kansas, Brown said.

'The agency is considering the need for a recall of the product,' Brown said. The FDA can order a recall on its own or obtain one voluntarily from the firm.

Revital is sold nationwide through the mail, as well as at some pharmacies, health food stores and clinics, Brown said. It is also used in some hospitals, he said.

Last April, the company agreed to recall contaminated supplies of Revital powder and gel that FDA officials said could be life-threatening, Brown said. At that time, Revital was sold in at least 20 states, he said.

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At Robertson Resources Ltd., a man identifying himself as the firm's president, Dr. Harry J. Robertson, said the product 'got a complete bill of health' in tests this month by an outside laboratory. He said he will fight the government.

'This is criminal -- not on our part,' he said in a telephone interview. 'This is worse than Russia. We're not going to roll over and play dead.'

Robertson said, 'I take it every cotton-picking day,' explaining Revital, an amino acid product, is also a nutrient.

Robertson said he wants an ombudsman outside government to investigate the FDA's seizure of the product.

Brown said the FDA is investigating several recent consumer complaints about the product.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment placed an embargo on the sale of all Revital products in the state earlier this month. The department said the product was contaminated with bacteria and could cause infection if used on open sores, particularly in elderly people.

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