There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the supplement industry after news broke that, upon investigation, store-brand supplements at GNC, Target, Walgreens and Wal Mart do not include the ingredients they claim to contain. In fact, these supplements included potential allergens that were not listed on the packaging.
Some of these supplements reported by the New York State Attorney General’s office include Echinacea, garlic, gingko biloba, ginseng, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort and valerian root. Through the use of DNA barcoding, twenty-four products were tested by the New York State Attorney General’s office that claimed to contain these seven herbs. All but five of these products contained DNA that was indistinguishable or derived from a plant that was not listed on the ingredients list.
The biggest problem with the dietary supplement industry is that these products do not have to undergo rigorous testing and review by the federal government. Drugs, on the other hand, not only have to undergo testing and review, but they also have to prove to be effective. This investigation has revealed the sad truth that the supplement industry is not all that it seems.
The big controversy is that even after the investigation, these supplements are still sitting on store shelves. It is also still difficult to find any information that is reliable concerning the safe use and potential risks of using dietary supplements. If it wasn’t for the investigation by the Attorney General’s office, who knows how long Americans would have remained in the dark regarding the truth of the situation.
There are currently 65,000 supplements on the market, and nearly half of all Americans use one or more of these supplements. The present situation has also led to mistrust of those who are in a position of authority in the industry, considering that their willful ignorance could cause harm and allergic reactions for those taking their supplements.
The bad news for businesses is that this situation has made the industry even more high risk in the eyes of traditional lenders; this means businesses or startups in the industry will have an even more difficult time securing the funding and payment processing solutions they need. Fortunately, there are providers who specialize in not only serving “high risk” merchants, but also in specifically offering a vitamin supplement merchant account.