The New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, recently announced an investigation into the vitamin supplement industry calling for transparency, to ensure that popular supplements actually contain what they claim. He has created a coalition that includes the attorney generals of New York, Connecticut, Indiana, and Puerto Rico. In February, Schneiderman solicited a lab to test a variety of herbal supplements sold at major retailers in New York. The tests revealed that almost four out of five of the herbal supplements tested did not contain the ingredients listed on the label. And others were full of fillers like pine, beans, rice, and asparagus. This raises some serious questions about consumer health and ethical questions about the vitamin supplement industry.
The supplements tested can be found on the shelves of common retailers like, Walgreens, GNC, Target, and Wal-Mart. Schneiderman ordered these retailers in New York to stop selling some brands, and asked some of the companies about how these supplements are processed. Some consumer advocates are extremely concerned with what they see as a violation of the public’s trust.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition—a supplement lobbying group —claims the tests performed by Schneiderman were inaccurate. Wal-Mart insists that its products contained the exact ingredients listed on the bottles. While GNC says that it tests its own products and assures the public that they are both pure and safe.
Right now the Federal government’s hands are tied in regards to vitamin supplement regulations. Due to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, vitamin supplements and other herbal supplements are protected from the same scrutiny and approval given to other drugs. As a result, critics doubt that major reforms will be able to touch the industry and that companies need only to change their labels and a few ingredients to placate consumer watchdogs.
Last year consumers spent $23 billion on vitamin supplements. But this latest news has some consumers questioning the integrity of their daily supplements. As many question the purity of large, established brands, now is the time for new and independent vitamin supplement merchants to create vitamin supplement merchant accounts. Contact us to learn how you can start your vitamin supplement account.