The rise and fall of Boo, a wildly popular scheme that had tens of thousands eating dirt

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health alert warning consumers against eating or drinking dirt. You read that right. During the pandemic, a multilevel marketing scheme called Black Oxygen Organics (BOO, for short) began successfully selling questionably sourced soil to tens of thousands of people in both Canada and the United States. The product? Four and half ounces of dirt in a plastic bag. The price? $110. The “payoff”? BOO dealers claimed that the product can cure anything from hair loss to Alzheimer’s. As BOO took off, so did its skeptics. Recently, health regulators began to scrutinize the company, launching recall procedures in both countries. Last month, BOO unceremoniously shut down, though whether the closure is permanent remains to be seen. In the meantime, you can find us stirring Miracle-Gro into our morning coffee (just kidding). —Jessica Fu

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