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The Dark Issue

The Dark Issue

In this issue, the first-ever Dark Issue, the NBJ will name some names. We bring this issue to press and pixels a bit over a year since New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told the world that herbal supplements sold by major retailers contained none of the ingredients proclaimed on the label. The science missed the mark, with the industry able to quickly point out flaws in the DNA bar code test. Still, many supplement makers have since agreed that while it may have been the wrong test, ingredient purity is most certainly the right target.

Nobody who has worked in the industry for very long could look at the supplement shelves and have complete confidence in every label and every product. Anybody who has even glanced at the supply chain would agree that the industry has a problem with adulteration.

And then we hear the line about “a few bad players” again and little is accomplished

After the Department of Justice issued 117 civil and criminal charges in November, NBJ calculated the fringe players in the weight loss and sports nutrition categories targeted by prosecutors as less than half a percent of the industry. Sizing up the dark side that way would suggest a minor problem turned media magnet, but problems of adulteration and false claims percolate throughout the industry. It’s not just sports and weight loss.

So is it really a “few?” And would anybody in the industry be willing to pick those few out of that police lineup that never happens?

After the New York attorney general story broke, samples from the lots Schneiderman had tested were gathered by industry advocates and sent to different labs, using different techniques. The results were never released, raising at least a suspicion the answers were no more flattering than Schneiderman’s charges.

Are you really cleaning house when you sweep the dirt under the carpet?


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