The controversy surrounding the New York Attorney General (NYAG)’s assessment of herbal supplements on the market continues.

Most recently, GNC has released an announcement that it has come to an agreement with the NYAG about the Herbal Plus products in question. The NYAG has stated that the GNC products are in full compliance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements and has allowed GNC to restore the Herbal Plus products to the shelves in New York State. Though the testing method used by NYAG has been called into question by numerous industry experts, GNC cooperated with the NYAG and provided conclusive evidence from both internal and third-party tests that its products are safe and contain all extracts listed on the labels.

Although GNC’s current manufacturing and source methods are sufficient to prove product quality, the retailer has decided to go a step further with its product testing, including a DNA test before the extraction process, where it is viable. The retailers hope to spark an industry-wide self-evaluation of companies' product quality standards. GNC believes that its changes will give consumers even greater confidence in their products.

Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., the CEO and executive director of the Natural Products Association (NPA) has issued a statement that while the NPA is relieved that the NYAG has reached this agreement with GNC, it is still frustrated that safe products were pulled from shelves without cause.

The Council of Responsible Nutrition’s president and CEO, Steve Mister, emphasized the unjustified nature of the NYAG’s claims. Mister asserts that the agreement incorrectly suggests that DNA testing is an appropriate method for supplement analysis. Although he commends GNC for appeasing the Attorney General, he states that the company is not responsible for fulfilling these conditions since they adhere to all FDA regulations.


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2015, online 3/30/15