Melatonin-Added Baked Goods Come Under Scrutiny

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the agency’s policy on food additives like melatonin. In response, the natural products industry has sought to clarify the status of such products and distinguish them from dietary supplements.

Baked goods with melatonin added, which often claim to alleviate stress and ease sleep deprivation, were referred to in the senator’s letter as dietary supplements. Durbin was concerned over the doses of the additives present these products, claiming that they are often higher than recommended levels. But the Natural Products Association (NPA) released a statement calling such products conventional foods that are falsely labeled as supplements.

The statement calls on FDA to correct the issue, stating in part, “We urge the Food and Drug Administration to take quick action on these or any products masquerading as a dietary supplement.” While emphasizing the safety of legitimate dietary supplements, the NPA says the labeling of products such as melatonin-containing brownies as “dietary supplements” does not make them supplements in a legal sense, and that makers of such products should be held accountable for their marketing violations.

(online 5/23/11)