Jason Vale, a devout Christian, cancer survivor, former world arm wrestling champion and his mother were arrested in New York City Wednesday after making nearly $1 million in the last six years selling apricot seeds online as a cure for cancer, branded “Apricots from God.”
Authorities allege that Vale, 51, and his mother, Barbara Vale, 77, have been promoting apricot seeds as a Bible-backed “answer to cancer" on his divinely inspired business website and made $850,000 between January 2013 and last month, ABC 7 reported.
“Remember, the seeds may kill cancer cells but there is more to beating cancer then just killing off or shrinking a few tumors. For a body to develop cancer, it's inner environment has been compromised. You must supply it with the right stuff and cut out the wrong,” Vale tells visitors in a message posted to his online store.
Vale, who won city, state and national arm wrestling titles throughout the 1980s and ’90s, was previously sentenced to five years in jail in 2003 for violating an injunction barring him from selling apricot seeds, the New York Post said, citing a criminal complaint against him.
The complaint said Vale and his mother collected $295, plus $27.75 for shipping, in exchange for three pounds of seeds, three bottles of vitamins, and a DVD about the “cure,” according to the New York Post.
Despite his previous arrest for marketing the seeds, Vale’s faith in their power over cancer has kept him in business. On his website, he also points to Scripture as the basis for his support of apricot seeds as a cancer-fighting agent.
“This site holds the truth on apricot seed extract and more important the apricot seed itself. Our information on the seed and the necessity to eat seeds is backed Biblically in Genesis 1:29. ‘And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for meat,’” he writes.
He also credits vitamin B17 and laetrile, a drug made from purified amygdalin found in the seeds, with curing him of terminal cancer on two occasions.
“The story started about 25 years ago when I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. There are some recent health situations I am dealing with besides the story of my cancer victory from age 18. In short, I found out that a component found in nature (concentrated in apricot seeds) could stop my cancer. I used it, shouted about it and then got thrown in prison for the sale of the legal food, apricot seeds despite not one personal complaint and hundreds of individuals claiming victory over their illness,” Vale claims.
Officials told ABC 7 that when federal law enforcement officers visited the home of his mother on 234th Street in Queens Village Wednesday morning, they found drums of hazardous liquid that had to be removed by the city's Department of Environmental Protection.
Vale’s brother, Jared Vale, told the New York Post that his brother was taken to North Shore University Hospital where he is being treated for a hip infection.
The arm wrestler and his mother were released on $100,000 bail each after their arraignment.
Jared Vale told the Post that the case against his brother was “comical,” and insists his brother is not a fan of mainstream medicine.
“He believes in alternatives. He does not believe in the medical society.”
“If I sell orange juice for cancer, I am now selling a drug as defined under 21 U.S.C. 352. The law has been formed over years and years of court cases, each one adding to the lock that doctors have over treating disease. There is a list of ‘diseases’ that only doctors are allowed to treat. This list includes CANCER, ARTHRITIS, DIABETES, HEART DISEASE, and hundreds of other ‘names’ of ailments which the establishment has secured patents on,” the wrestler complains on the website.
“They own the words of all the diseases and the words TREAT, CURE, MITIGATE etc. If I sell you string beans for you[r] diabetes, I am now selling an illegal unapproved drug. No matter how many people we CURED with apricot seeds, the vitamin B-17 that is found in them and some other aids, it does not matter. As a matter of fact, we have had over a 90 percent success rate with the apricot seeds and other aids, but our records do not matter,” he said.
The FDA has challenged Vale’s claim that they have not had any complaints about their cure, noting among other evidence an email addressed to Barbara Vale from a customer who had purchased products from the website, including B-17 powder, The Washington Post noted.
The customer said a day after eating a “scoop” of the product, he suffered “severe poisoning,” and experienced vertigo and vomiting. His mother and a friend who also ate the apricot seeds “felt their thinking went blurred.”
According to Cancer Research UK: “Laetrile has been used as an anti-cancer agent since the 1800s. It is used either on its own or as part of a program. This might include following a particular diet, high dose vitamin supplements and pancreatic enzymes. Although, more recent studies have shown that laetrile can kill cancer cells in certain cancer types there is not enough reliable scientific evidence to show that laetrile or amygdalin can treat cancer. Despite this, it still gets promoted as an alternative cancer treatment.”