February 4, 2015 — The New York Attorney General has ordered several major retailers to stop selling their store-brands of dietary supplements after tests found that most did not contain ingredients on the label.
The retailers include GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens. Investigators conducted DNA testing on hundreds of bottles of supplements, and found that four out of five contained none of the herbs that were listed on the labels.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman warned that the products pose safety risks, warning:
“If the producers of herbal supplements fail to identify all the ingredients on a product’s label, a consumer with food allergies, or who is taking medication for an unrelated illness, is taking a potentially serious health risk every time a contaminated herbal supplement is ingested.”
Cease-and-desist orders were issued for seven herbal supplements, including:
- Ginkgo biloba
- St. John’s wort
- Saw Palmetto
- Valerian root
GNC manufactures their own supplements. Target, Walgreens, and Walmart contract herbal manufacturers to create store-brands, such as Up & Up (Target), Finest Nutrition (Walgreens), and Spring Valley (Walmart).
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, the FDA does not test supplements before they are allowed on the market. Products are typically only recalled after laboratory tests discover mislabeling or outbreaks of severe injuries.
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