The state Department of Public Health sent the cease-and-desist letters last week following an investigation spurred by consumer complaints about the tests' accuracy and cost, a department spokeswoman said Monday.
Two of the most visible companies to offer consumer genetic tests — Redwood Shores-based Navigenics Inc. and Mountain View-based 23andMe Inc. — confirmed receiving the letters.
Health officials would not identify the companies involved until confirming they had received the letters but said all the targeted companies advertise on the Internet.
All the companies have two weeks to demonstrate to regulators that their laboratories are certified by the state and federal governments, said department spokeswoman Lea Brooks. The startups also must show the tests they are selling California residents have been ordered by a doctor as required by state law.
"There's either concern they don't have a license, there isn't a physician's order, or both," Brooks said. "That's what's under investigation."
Companies face fines of up to...