Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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June 25, 2014

Health officials inspect company

Probe centers on company’s making of natural health products without state licensing

By TODD GLASSCOCK

An ongoing investigation led the Texas Department of State Health Services to send inspectors Wednesday to a Mineral Wells-based natural health products manufacturer, Metro Chem Associates.

“We are there to determine what type of activities the firm is engaged in to see if they need licensure,” said Christine Mann, press officer for the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin, via email. “The firm does not currently hold any type of license with DSHS.”

She said in an email the department would not know what kind of license Metro Chem would need until they determine what kind of operation they have. “We don’t know at this point.”

Inspectors arrived Wednesday morning accompanied by state police, said Barbara Dews, who owns the business at 3305 Farm-to-Market Road 1821 North, along with her husband, Jim.

“It’s a big day,” she said Wednesday morning at the site. “They’re shutting us down.”

Inspectors at the site did not confirm whether the business would be shut down and referred press inquiries about the nature of the inspection to the press office in Austin.

Jim Dews, who led the inspectors through the facility’s warehouse, said he had not been told why the inspectors were there. “They don’t tell you much of anything.”

Inspectors seemed to be discussing and checking labels on the boxes and containers in the warehouse.

Barbara Dews said the state had issued a temporary injunction to halt sales and any other distribution of  their products, including giving them away to customers. She said the company, which had sold its products by membership only online, had been complying with the injunction since May 29.

At the site to support the Dews during the inspection was Bert McDaniel of Fort Worth, a Metro Chem customer, who along with Jim Dews, developed a gel to treat Morgellons disease, an as yet unexplained skin disorder characterized by disfiguring sores and crawling sensations on and under the skin.

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