Herbal supplier to Walmart, Walgreens to authenticate ingredients

6:08:00 AM

New York’s attorney general announced an agreement with NBTY to authenticate ingredients in herbal supplements sold nationally through Walmart, Walgreens and other retailers through the use of DNA barcoding.

NBTY is based is based in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. on Long Island. It is the third such agreement New York AG Eric Schneiderman has reached with herbal supplement makers after pacts with GNC and Nature’s Way.

Herbal supplier to Walmart, Walgreens to authenticate ingredients
Under the agreement, NBTY agreed to DNA barcoding and other testing, labeling, and manufacturing reforms to protect consumers of herbal supplements, which Schneiderman’s office said are more stringent than those of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. NBTY pledged to phase in the changes over two years.

In February 2015, Schneiderman sent cease-and-desist letters to GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart, after a study commissioned by his office failed to detect identifiable genetic material for the plants depicted on the labels in most of the four retailers’ herbal supplement products. Schneiderman’s office noted previous studies that uncovered substitution and adulteration in herbal supplements sold by various U.S. manufacturers, as well as a 2013 outbreak of hepatitis that struck more than 70 people in 16 states, traced to a tainted supplement.

“When consumers take an herbal supplement, they should be able to do so confident that the plant on the label is the plant in the bottle, and that every reasonable precaution was taken to ensure the product’s authenticity and purity,” Schneiderman said, in a written statement. “Consumers can only have that confidence if the companies that sell herbal supplements employ the best and most reliable testing measures for ... ruling out dangerous allergens.”

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announces in March 2015 new guidelines GNC agreed to for herbal supplements it sells. On Sept. 28, 2016, Schneiderman announced a similar agreement with NBTY, a Long Island, N.Y.-based company that sells herbal supplements through Walmart and Walgreens among other retailers.

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