On the basis of DNA barcoding technology tests conducted on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers in New York State — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart, the New York State attorney general’s office has demanded that the retailers remove the products from their shelves. Details along with copies of the four, 4 page cease and desist letters to the above companies from the New York State attorney general’s office, stating what was and wasn't found in top selling Gingko Biloba, St John's Wort, Ginseng, Garlic, Echinacea and Saw Palmetto herbal supplements, are provided in the New York Times "Well" blog:
How could this happen? From the above blog:
"The F.D.A. requires that companies verify that every supplement they manufacture is safe and accurately labeled. But the system essentially operates on the honor code.
Under a 1994 federal law, supplements are exempt from the F.D.A.’s strict approval process for prescription drugs, which requires reviews of a product’s safety and effectiveness before it goes to market.
The law’s sponsor and chief architect, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, is a steadfast supporter of supplements. He has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the industry and repeatedly intervened in Washington to quash proposed legislation that would toughen the rules."
We can only hope that this will bring the approval process for supplements in the USA more into line with that required for prescription drugs.
Photo: A feather short of one galah - a bit like some of the "supplements" being sold in the USA.