Over the last year, the herbal supplement industry has come under fire. In New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed several lawsuits against herbal supplement makers for what essentially is fraud. A few months ago, he had a variety of supplements tested to see if they contained the ingredients they proclaimed to have. Schneiderman used DNA barcoding to test the products and found that only 21 percent of these supplements were accurate. So most supplements did not contain all or any of the ingredients they claimed. This discovery has attorney generals in other states calling for reform in the industry.
Schneiderman filed charges against Target, GNC, Walgreens, and Walmart. However, the industry refuted his testing methods, stating that DNA testing is not an accurate method for purity testing. Still the lawsuits seem to have had some effect on the industry. GNC agreed with Schneiderman to change some of its herbal supplement practices. Daniel Fabricant, CEO of The Natural Products Association, pledged that his organization would ensure that herbal products will comply with protection laws from now on, acknowledging that recent events are indeed a violation of consumer trust.
Schneiderman’s authority to really impact the herbal industry is limited to New York, so to create change in other states, other attorney generals must act. So far, 14 attorney generals have signed a letter to Congress asking for an official inquiry into the herbal supplement industry. In the letter, the attorney generals recognize the power of the herbal industry and implore Congress to use their power to investigate the industry. In addition they ask for Congress to collaborate with the FDA to create standards and restrictions to regulate the use of herbal supplements.
In 2013, the FDA found that two out of three supplement manufacturers violated manufacturing laws. But FDA investigators also commented that they will pursue manufacturers and retailers who break the public trust. Now is the time for new herbal supplement merchants whose products actually contain the ingredients they list on the bottle to corner the market. Contact us to learn how you can start your herbal supplement merchant account to accept checks and credit cards from your new customers.