GNC has struck a deal with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, ending the battle that’s been raging ever since the Schneiderman ordered GNC, Walgreens, Walmart, and Target to stop selling herbal products that his secret investigation deemed fraudulent or hazardous. As part of this agreement, Schneiderman announced that GNC’s supplements were compliant with federal law after all and cleared them to return to store shelves. And even though GNC had ample third-party verification to prove its products had not been unadulterated, the chain agreed to bolster its testing protocols to include the DNA barcode testing used in Schneiderman’s probe.
The attorney general called this a “landmark agreement” that will help protect consumers against adulterated herbal supplements and rein in the loosely regulated supplement industry. There’s just one problem: DNA barcoding is at best a problematic technology.