In what amounts to the best news I have heard in a long time, the New York Attorney General strode into the arena of health supplements this week.
(Bloomberg) — Four major retailers were by told by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to halt sales of store-brand herbal supplements found to lack key ingredients listed on the label, fueling calls for more regulation of the $32 billion U.S. dietary supplement industry.
Schneiderman said he sent letters to GNC Holdings Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walgreens and Target Corp., telling them to drop products purportedly containing herbs such as echinacea, ginseng and St. John’s wort. He said his probe, conducted by a researcher who analyzed the presence of plant DNA in the products, revealed that ingredients on the labels of some supplements couldn’t be verified, and that others contained undisclosed ingredients.
The case in point revolves around two criticisms, as I see it. The first problem is that some supplements sold at GNC, WalMart, Target and Walgreens make unsupportable claims about their benefits and efficacy. This is an old problem in this business, one that might now begin to be resolved.
The second matter that General Schneiderman will address is the fact that so many of the stated ingredients in the suspect supplements are junk:
In many instances, rather than finding evidence of species on the label, such as ginkgo biloba or ginseng, the testing turned up other ingredients such as rice, beans or a tropical houseplant, and sometimes no plant DNA at all, Schneiderman said. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart’s Spring Valley brand had the worst results, with only 4 percent of the tests yielding DNA matching the product label and 56 percent not yielding any plant material, according to Schneiderman.
Tropical houseplants? Srsly?
This makes me happy because it will allow me to highlight the quality of my company’s supplements, vitamins and other healthful products. When you have a science-based manufacturing firm competing with junk, the truth will out…eventually. Perhaps eventually has arrived.
My company has a stated aim of providing innovation and high standards based on cutting-edge research. Having the cheap, cheerful and misleading awfulness called out like this is good for everyone.