Frontline Slams Supplements Industry

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Arlington, VA—PBS aired a Frontline segment on “Supplements and Safety” on Jan. 19 suggesting that supplements are unsafe, make fraudulent claims and are unregulated.

Correspondent Gillian Findlay focused on several extreme cases involving bad industry players that functioned outside the bounds of the law. For instance, she focused on a Purity First product, B-50, manufactured by Mira Health, that was contaminated with anabolic steroids and injured 29 people, and USPLabs’ OxyElete Pro, which caused liver toxicity in numerous people.

Findlay’s coverage also accused regulators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of being slow and unwilling to respond to legitimate threats from unscrupulous dietary supplements makers and powerless to protect consumers thanks to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. The dangers of taking vitamins in excess were also highlighted, with one interviewee—supplements critic Paul Offit, M.D.—linking supplements to cancer. Fish oil quality was also questioned.

Industry experts are calling foul, due to slanted coverage. The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), for instance, released a statement pointing out that “The content and tone of the Frontline segment presents a skewed portrayal of the supplement marketplace by ignoring the majority of supplement companies that ensure their products are safe and are properly manufactured and labeled, and who often go beyond what is required by federal law in order to meet the needs of their most demanding customers.”

The Natural Products Association also circulated a statement clarifying that supplements are indeed regulated and an important part of one’s health.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine March 2016 (onilne 1/21/16)