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Herbal Supplement Manufacturers Face Tougher Scrutiny Over Products

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Regulators are tightening policies on herbal supplements after noticing that some of them don’t contain the products their labels promise.

NBTY, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of herbal supplements under popular brand names like Solgar and Nature’s Bounty, agreed to undergo testing to ensure their products do contain herbs, USA Today reports. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the agreement Wednesday, following a 2015 study he had commissioned to look into these supplements.

Schneiderman’s study failed to confirm the presence of herbs listed on the supplements’ labels, which include ginseng, ginkgo biloba and some 22,000 others that are sold at Target, Walgreens, Walmart and GNC stores. The study discovered that the supplements contained cheap fillers like powdered rice. Schneidermn ordered NBTY to stop selling the products, and came to agreements with GNC and Nature’s Way. Schneiderman said,

When consumers take an herbal supplement, they should be able to do so confident that the plant on the label is the plant in the bottle, and that every reasonable precaution was taken to ensure the product’s authenticity and purity.

NBTY General Counsel Stratis Philippis stated in a written response that the company was “pleased” to have reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General, and that there was “no evidence” that NBTY had failed to conform to FDA and industry standards. Philippis added that DNA testing in such supplements is a fairly new, “emerging” science which the company hopes will be a helpful tool for the entire industry.

Stricter measures for herbal supplements include DNA barcoding, which verifies the identity of plant species, annual testing for potential allergens, additional on-site audits for ingredient suppliers and $250,000 funding for herbal authenticity genetic research.

NBTY is based in Ronkonkoma, New York and has over 11,000 employees worldwide. Its manufacturing, packaging, warehouse and distribution facilities are located across the United States and Canada.

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