Major Stores Accused Of Selling Mislabeled Supplements

Walking down the dietary supplement aisle is already intimidating — how different are those brands of ginkgo biloba, really? However, even when you've picked out the bottle of your choice, you might not be getting what you expect, reports The New York Times.  This week, the New York State attorney general's office accused GNC, Wal-Mart, Target, and Walgreens of selling adulterated and/or mislabeled herbal supplements. The office sent cease-and-desist letters to each of the retailers demanding to know how they test and verify what's in the supplements. The office's investigation found that four out of five of the store-brand herbal supplements tested didn't contain the advertised ingredients. For instance, the tests revealed that Target-brand St. John's Wort and valerian root supplements were made up of fillers like powdered rice and beans, but didn't have any of the actual herbs in them. Other pills from GNC contained powdered legumes but didn't say so on the label — which could pose a problem for people with allergies (peanuts, for example, are legumes). A representative for GNC told The New York Times that the company is willing to cooperate with the attorney general's office, but the company is still standing behind its products. Supplements can be pretty sketchy all-around, though, because they don't necessarily go through the same regulatory hoops that traditional pharmaceutical drugs do. But, the FDA still says manufacturers and distributors are supposed to make sure you're at least buying what the bottle says. To ensure you're getting your money's worth, check out our supplement guide and learn to tell the facts from the fiction. (The New York Times)

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