US senators “deeply concerned” over supplements industry standards13 July 2012
Two prominent US senators have called on the supplements industry to state their plans to improve manufacturing conditions in the $28 billion industry.
Senators Dick Durbin and Richard Blumenthal have sent letters to the heads of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the American Herbal Products Association and the Natural Products Association after raising serious concerns about standards.
“We are deeply concerned about the poor manufacturing standards that expose consumers to potentially serious health risks," said Durbin and Blumenthal.
"Consumers should have access to dietary supplements that meet fundamental quality controls."
Last month, The Chicago Tribune reported that a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection of 450 supplements firms found violations in over half. One in four companies received a warning letter from the agency and Dan Fabricant, the FDA’s head of dietary supplement programs described the results as “downright scary”.
Durbin and Blumenthal added in their letter that many of the contraventions were “basic, common sense safety practices that should not require regulatory guidance in the first place”.
John Shaw, the Natural Products Association’s executive director acknowledged the seriousness of the issue but questioned the evidence on which the concerns were raised.
“Like the senators, we’re concerned any time a violation may be found with a supplement manufacturer and it’s an issue we take seriously,” he said.
“It’s important to emphasise that dietary supplements are part of a fully-regulated industry and good manufacturing practices apply to all supplement manufacturers, large or small.”
"Supplements have an excellent safety record and we appreciate this opportunity to provide more information to the senators. While we appreciate any concerns the senators may have, reopening a closed debate based on distorted facts causes our members concern, as they work to ensure that consumers get the high quality products they expect and deserve."
"While I am concerned that there are pockets of the industry that have their heads stuck in the sand, these pockets are not representative of the industry,” added Steve Mister, the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s president and chief executive.
The American Herbal Products Association confirmed that it would publish a detailed formal response to the letter shortly.
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