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Originally published April 3 2015

Media-science hoax: Pharma-sponsored media and politicians use flawed study to attack supplement industry

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A gang of 14 state attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, has threatened to file a class action lawsuit against the dietary supplement industry for supposedly selling herbal products that don't contain the listed ingredients.

According to Reuters, an investigation led by New York's Schneiderman turned up results suggesting that dietary supplements sold by four major U.S. retailers, GNC Holdings Inc, Target Corp, Walgreens and Walmart Stores Inc, failed to meet efficacy standards, because they allegedly do not contain some or all of the plant materials listed on their labels.

None of the products in question appear to have received any complaints from consumers about safety or efficacy, despite an urgent request by the 14 state attorneys general to have Congress investigate the matter further. The real purpose of the threat, as admitted in the mainstream media, it to transfer more power to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to govern and control the supplement market.

DNA barcoding technique doesn't work on botanical products, pointing to anti-supplement agenda

Dietary supplement products, according to Schneiderman and his band of aggressors, require more stringent testing standards governed by the FDA because they supposedly aren't regulated. But supplements are, in fact, regulated by Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMPs, that test and trace all ingredients using advanced technologies like titration, chromatography and mass spectrometry.

Furthermore, the testing methods used by New York's Schneiderman to indict herbal supplements in the first place is inherently flawed. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, the DNA barcoding technology used has never been shown to be valid or appropriate for evaluating herbal and botanical content.

"These actions today by the New York State Attorney General's (AG) office smack of a self-serving publicity stunt under the guise of protecting public health," wrote CRN president and CEO Steve Mister in a response statement.

"Supposed concerns about the products in question are based on a novel testing method that has been roundly criticized by botanical scientists who question whether DNA barcoding technology is an appropriate or validated test for determining the presence of herbal ingredients in finished botanical products."

Good Manufacturing Practices already govern supplement industry; FDA doesn't need more control over industry

The reason for this is that when herbal supplements are developed and processed, the DNA of their plant materials is often damaged or removed, resulting in null results. The supposed presence of arsenic, mercury and lead in some of the supplements tested is also questionable, because trace amounts of certain contaminants are not necessarily considered dangerous.

"[W]hile a DNA testing method can be useful in some cases, this method well may be the wrong test for these kinds of products," says CRN.

"Nor does the DNA testing method provide information on the amounts of food contaminants found in the products. This is important because there are well-established legal thresholds that allow for trace amounts of some ingredients like gluten, and trace amounts of DNA from rice, beans, pine, citrus, etc. are not considered harmful or required on labels."

Unfortunately, GNC has reportedly already complied with the demands of the AGs, even though these demands are unreasonable and the actual test results have not been publicly disclosed. As explained by CRN, the New York AG's office has no expertise in the matter and is clearly targeting the supplement industry for other reasons.

As it turns out, after being pressed to release the actual test results of his office's investigation, Schneiderman reportedly withdrew his accusations that the supplements in question were contaminated or that they lacked active ingredients.

More on this is covered in the following Daily Kos article:

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