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article imageNY attorney general finds fraudulent supplements in many stores

By E. Hector Corsi     Feb 3, 2015 in Health
A recent investigation by the New York State attorney general has found that big retailers sold contaminated and possibly dangerous supplements.
DNA tests of store-brand herbal supplements sold at GNC, Target, Walmart and Walgreens show that many of the tested products didn’t contain the herbs listed on the product labels. Even more disturbing was the detection of contaminants that could pose a serious health risk to people with allergies.
The attorney general has ordered the stores to stop selling these products, and thus far Target has not responded. GNC, Walmart, and Walgreens promised to cooperate with the attorney general.
The tests were conducted by James Schulte II, Ph.D., of Clarkson University in Potsdam, and involved testing six herbal supplements sold in New York State. Three to four samples of each supplement were tested, and each sample was tested five times.
Walmart had the worst results, with only 4 percent of the products having DNA from the herbs listed on product labels.
Walmart’s ginko biloba product contained houseplants and wheat, a potential problem to those allergic to gluten. The label claimed to be gluten-free.
GNC brand products contained unlisted fillers, such as powdered legumes. Target and Walgreens products also didn’t contain the plants claimed in the labels.
Overall, only 21 percent of tested products contained the plants listed on the labels.
Harvard Medical School assistant professor Pieter Cohen, a specialist on supplement safety, said that the test results were so extreme he found them hard to accept. "He suggested that the manufacturing process may have destroyed some of the ingredients’ DNA, rendering the DNA barcode test ineffective," the Washington Post reported.
The investigation was started based on a recent University of Guelph study quoted in the New York Times that showed only about a third of tested herbal supplements contained the herbs listed on their labels.
The FDA doesn’t have to test or approve herbal products before they go on sale. Dangerous products are thus only banned from stores after they are found to be toxic.
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