Findings: Sand, houseplants found in herbal supplements

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They are just some of the substances allegedly found in some herbal supplements as cheap fillers. The findings were released as part of a New York Attorney General office investigation into herbal supplements.

“In a good number of cases there was no organic material in the product. In some cases there was sand,” said Marty Mack, Executive Deputy Attorney General for New York.

Nearly 80 percents of the AG’s test results found that store brand supplements tested at Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC did not contain what is listed on the label. The report said the store brands of Ginkgo Biloba and St. John’s Wort at all four stores did not test positive for either herb.

“A lot of not so good companies use a lot of filler, if they may sprinkle a little Ginkgo Biloba in there and a whole lot of filler,” Jenn Dazey, a natropathic doctor with Bastyr University’s Botanical Medicine Department.

Dazey said herbal supplements that are mislabeled can be dangerous for users with allergies. Some supplements  tested by the AG positive for wheat.

“Now it’s up to a savvy consumer,” said Dazey.

In the case of Walmart, authorities found its ginkgo biloba, a memory enhancer contained radish powder, houseplants and wheat.

“Third party tested,” read Dazey off the back label of an herbal supplement  belonging to a coworker.

Dr. Dazey said the only way to know what’s on the label is in the bottle is to look for products that third party test their supplements.

Look for it on the label or Dazey said consumers can call a company and request lab certificates of analysis. The downside may be the price. Those supplements are typically more expensive.

“There really isn’t a way for a company to prove that it has this integrity without being  third party tested,” said Dazey.

In a written statement the FDA said dietary supplement manufactures are responsible for marketing a safe and properly labeled product.

The FDA would not comment directly on the findings, but did say it takes herbal supplement requirements very seriously.

“If you pay more for a company  with good reputation and  they give you the info on product you are worth it,” said Dazey.

In response to an ABC News report,  G-N-C said it stands by its products; Walmart said it’s reaching out to the suppliers and will take appropriate action; Target said it’s committed to providing high quality and safe products; Walgreens said it’s in the process of removing the products.

FDA Guidance on herbal supplements is available online.

Full FDA Statement when asked to respond to NY Findings:

Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and related regulations, dietary supplement manufacturers are responsible for marketing a safe and properly labeled product. The agency does not approve dietary supplements before they are sold to consumers. The manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that the “Supplement Facts” label and ingredient list are accurate, that the dietary ingredients are safe, and that the content of the product matches the amount declared on the label. Since 2010, all dietary supplement manufacturers also must follow current Good Manufacturing Practices for dietary supplements, which includes, among other requirements, the responsibility of verifying ingredient identity and finished product composition.

The FDA takes these requirements very seriously and monitors the marketplace for potentially illegal products (that is, products that may be unsafe, make false or misleading claims, or are otherwise not in compliance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the applicable regulations in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations) through inspections of dietary supplement manufacturers and distributors, online commerce, consumer and trade complaints, laboratory analyses of selected products, and adverse event reports associated with the use of supplements.

Because of the agency’s mission to ensure public health, the FDA focuses first on issues of safety. In the last several years, we have taken action against numerous supplement manufacturers because their products contained undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients, which can cause illness and death, or were manufactured under unsanitary conditions.

Source : Komo News

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