Albany, NY—Following his cease and desist order against four major retailers regarding herbal supplements, New York Attorney General (NYAG) Eric Schniederman is now is now targeting the manufacturers of them as well. Letters were sent from the NYAG’s office to Pharmavite LLC of Mission Hills, CA; NBTY Inc. of Ronkonkoma, NY; Nature's Way Products Inc. of Lehi, UT; and Nutraceutical Corp. of Park City, UT. These letters demanded detailed ingredient and quality control information on every product the manufacturers sold in New York, not just the store brands that initially sparked the controversy.
Some of the items requested in the letters include documentation of testing done to substantiate label claims such as "gluten free" or "hypoallergenic,” detailed descriptions of measures taken to ensure quality across the supply chain and copies of all documents related to adverse health consequences. Spokesperson for the NYAG Matt Mittenthal commented, “It's important for both retailers and manufacturers to verify the contents of the products they sell so consumers can be protected against deceptive claims on packaging, and against potentially dangerous reactions to undisclosed ingredients," according to NBC NY.
Several members and allies of the natural products industry are weighing in. Daniel Fabricant, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association, remarked that all the information the NYAG is asking for is made available to the FDA when it makes its inspections. Fabricant questioned the necessity of “devoting resources to something that's already covered by the federal government.”
United Natural Products Alliance president Loren Israelsen shared this skepticism, also remarking that “There are no indications of any quality problems and no allegations…simply by virtue of these companies being named, suggesting that they are noncompliant, this latest action places a pall of suspicion over these companies.” Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) also penned a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg questioning the NYAG’s demands versus federal requirements, as well as the validity of the DNA testing used to arrive at the initial conclusions regarding the supplements.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2015 (online 2/25/15)