There appears to be some forward motion on the recent efforts to clean up the herbal supplement industry.

Here is an excerpt from Anahad O’Conner’s report in the NY Times

GNC, the country’s largest specialty retailer of dietary supplements, has agreed to institute sweeping new testing procedures on its herbal products that far exceed quality controls mandated under federal law.

The action to be announced Monday comes after the New York State attorney general’s office accused GNC and three other major retailers of selling herbal supplements that were fraudulent or contaminated with unlisted ingredients that could pose health risks to consumers.

I recently walked into my local GNC store here in San Diego. I specifically asked their employee what the status was on the recent claims by the NY attorney general office regarding the issue of GNC mislabeling their herbal supplements. He said he had been instructed not to speak publicly about the matter, butassured me GNC was responding to the issue.

Now, we can see the first public statements giving some detail as to their plan.

It looks like their new plan will be a combination of more stringent manufacturing and testing processes and also more effective consumer communication.

Here is a bullet list of how GNC claims they will respond to this situation.

  • advanced DNA testing to authenticate the plants used in its store-brand herbal supplements
  • test products for common allergens like tree nuts, soy and wheat
  • submit semiannual reports proving that it is complying with the attorney general’s demands
  • display signs at all of its stores and post statements on its website explaining to customers how the ingredients in its herbal supplements were processed
  • explain the chemical solvents were used to make the supplements

Seems like a good starting point. Considering how many people buy herbal supplements from GNC, it is nice to see an elevated level of quality control and transparency. I guess lawyers aren’t all that bad after all…

Stay posted, we will see how this shakes out..