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PILLMAKER'S WOES NOT OVER

Mineral Resources International has reached an out-of-court settlement with a Provo company that accused it of using unsafe ingredients in its dietary supplements.

The state Department of Agriculture, however, is continuing its in investigation into Mineral Resource's manufacturing practices.The allegations against the West Haven manufacturer were made by Sterling Health Marketing Group, another dietary supplement company, in a lawsuit filed in 2nd District Court in late February.

Mineral Resources International is owned by Weber County Commissioner Bruce Anderson, his brothers Corey Anderson and Matthew Anderson and five other family members.

Donald Dalton, Sterling's attorney, said Thursday the two companies reached a settlement. The terms were kept confidential, he said.

Part of the settlement required Sterling to back off its allegation that Mineral Resources used untreated industrial salt in its vitamins, even after being warned the practice was unsafe.

A statement released by Bill Spires, Sterling's president, said independent testing of Mineral Resources's products revealed no health risks.

Sterling had alleged in its lawsuit that the West Haven company used magnesium chloride, or industrial salt, obtained from the bulk-loading facility at Great Salt Lake Minerals.

Industrially, the product is used in dust control, in disinfectants, as an ice remover and in some types of glue. It has to be purified before it can be used in dietary supplements.

Sterling had claimed Mineral Resources did nothing to purify the magnesium chloride other than filter it through a nylon pantyhose.

Sterling's allegations were made after Mineral Resources sued Sterling for alleged breach of contact and theft of trade secrets in January.

The two signed a licensing agreement in 1995 in which Sterling agreed to purchase and distribute products made by Mineral Resources.

The agreement began to fail by midyear.

Mineral Resources spokesman Val Anderson said the company was pleased with the settlement and remains confident about the outcome of the state investigation.

"We have been working hand in hand with the state. We share the same concerns, to make sure public health is protected. "

Becky Shreeve, the Agriculture Department's spokeswoman, said out-of-state testing was done on Mineral Resources products and the investigation is expected to conclude next week.

Mineral Resources International, formerly known as Trace Minerals Research, has been in business 28 years and has 80 employees.

Its products are sold under the Trace Minerals Research label in health food stores across the United States and in eight countries.