Supplements Pulled from Shelves for Misleading Labels

Health | Did You Know

Supplements Pulled from Shelves for Misleading Labels

Do you pop a supplement in the morning to help make sure you are getting all the nutrition you need? It's common practice for most of us, because it is now part of a healthy diet. Well, have you ever thought about what's in those nutritional packed pills you take?

The New York State attorney general's office is accusing 4 major retailers for selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements and demanded that the products be removed from their shelves, according to the NY Times.

Tests were done on the top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart and found that 4 out of 5 products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels.

These tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained fillers like powdered rice, asparagus, and house plants which could prove to be dangerous with people who have allergies.

The attorney general's findings revealed the popular store brand of ginseng pills sold at Walgreens was promoted for "physical endurance and vitality," only contained powered rice and garlic. When investigating Walmart's ginko biloba, a Chinese plant promoted as a memory enhacer, it found the contents was no more than powered radish, houseplants and wheat- in spite of claiming to be gluten-free. 3 of 6 herbal products tested from Target tested negative for the herbs on their labels, and also contained powdered rice, beans, peas and wold carrots. Supplements tested from GNC found unlisted ingredients used as fillers including powdered legumes, including peanuts and soybeans which could be hazardous for people with allergies.

"If this data is accurate, then it is an unbelievably devastating indictment of the industry," said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and an expert on supplement safety. "We're talking about products at mainstream retailers like Walmart and Walgreens that are expected to be the absolute highest quality."

The Food and Drug Administration requires companies to test each the supplements they manufacturer to ensure they are safe and properly labeled. The system in place operates on the honor code.

Will this make you think twice about taking supplements?