Several state attorneys general will work together to probe the business practices of the herbal supplement industry following a New York investigation that found problems with a number of products.
Industry groups criticized New York's findings as inaccurate, saying supplements are safe, useful and already subject to Food and Drug Administration scrutiny.
The attorneys general of Connecticut, Indiana, New York and Puerto Rico plan to work together to ensure that herbal supplement makers take steps to validate their marketing claims regarding authenticity and purity, according to a news release from the New York attorney general's office. A recent analysis commissioned by that office found contaminants, unlabeled plant species and other substances in some store-brand supplements. It also found that in some supplements, the genetic material of the original plant source was either undetectable or not present at all.
“New Yorkers and consumers nationwide deserve confidence that when an herbal supplement is represented as authentic, pure and natural, it really is,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a news statement.
But industry groups panned the effort. Steve Mister, CEO of the trade group Council for Responsible Nutrition, said in a statement that it is ironic that Schneiderman is calling for transparency “when his office refuses to release its test results and methodology, which scientists familiar with botanicals and DNA testing say is inaccurate.” The New York “attorney general's office continues to ignore the scientific facts of his investigation, as well as the fact that botanical supplements are already properly regulated by the FDA,” Mister said.