February 4, 2015 — Walmart, GNC, Target, and Walgreens have received cease-and-desist orders to stop selling several store-brands of dietary supplements because they are mislabeled.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman warned that hundreds of products were tested, but less than half contained the ingredients that were listed on the label.
Most products contained cheap fillers or other ingredients that could pose safety hazards:
“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.”
When investigators conducted DNA tests, 80% of products contained none of the herbs that were listed on the label. Products affected by the cease-and-desist orders include Gingko biloba, St. John’s wort, ginseng, garlic, echinacea, saw palmetto, and valerian root.
These products are sold under the Up & Up brand at Target, Finest Nutrition at Walgreens, and Spring Valley at Walmart. GNC manufactures their own products, but the other retailers contract out the manufacturing to other companies.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require manufacturers of dietary supplements to prove their products are safe or effective before they are allowed on the market. In addition, products are typically only removed from the market after people are injured and/or lab tests show they contain illegal ingredients.
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