A recent Frontline investigation sheds light on the minimal regulation in the billion dollar dietary supplement (this includes, for example, vitamins, herbals, and athletic supplements) industry.
Unlike medications, there is no requirement for products to undergo review by a government agency. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has purview over supplement companies but few directives or resources to do anything but build legal cases after individuals have been harmed. FDA can only review companies to make sure that they are following safe manufacturing standards…that is, if the company informs FDA that they are manufacturing a product. There is no way to ensure that companies notify FDA that they are manufacturing dietary supplements.
Are companies required to advise consumers or FDA that their product actually contains what it says on the label? No. Safe? No. Effective? No. Assure against contaminants? No. Taking a supplement is based on the motto “Buyer beware.” So, please be careful! If you have questions about a supplement you are taking or considering, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN
Interested in ensuring that you are getting all of your nutrients through food that you eat? Contact me at email@example.com.