Dietary supplement industry fights back against recent allegations

The Dietary supplements industry is fighting back against allegations that four big box retailers in New York sold mislabeled and tainted products.

Last month, the Senate Democrats called on the Food and Drug Administration to do a nationwide investigation after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked GNC, Target, Wal-mart and Walgreens to immediately stop selling store brand herbal supplements in their New York locations.

Industry groups have criticized the DNA barcoding technology used to test these drugs.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition issued a report Wednesday commissioned by four trade associations ­– the American Herbal Products Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the United Natural Products Alliance – that calls into question the validity of the tests.

Since the Attorney General’s office has not released the full methodology, the testing procedures or the analytics of the tests, the report said it’s impossible to place any confidence in the publicized results.

Because the material containing DNA cells is typically removed and at the very least damaged in making a supplement, the report said DNA barcoding methods could have been inappropriately used on botanical extracts. 

And AG’s failure to answer questions about whether adequate procedures were used in the testing lab and if validated reference sequences and appropriate analytical tools were used to identify species, the report said raises “serious concerns.”