NY Attorney General Issues Subpoenas amid Trade Association Concerns

Washington, D.C.—The New York supplement controversy has taken a new turn, as New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has issued subpoenas to Target, GNC, Walmart, and Walgreens requesting substantiating evidence for the claims made on labels of their store brand supplements. As this escalates, though, some of the industry’s leading trade organizations are also raising their efforts to ensure transparency on all sides of the situation.

Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D, CEO and executive director of the Natural Products Association (NPA), says that federal laws are already in place to ensure that dietary supplement makers do not make any misleading claims, and that some of the ingredients being investigated, like gingko biloba and ginseng, are among the most widely researched in the industry. Fabricant also believes that “the attorney general is using these subpoenas as a misdirection, removing focus from the fact that he still has yet to release the data from the DNA study he used as the basis for his original cease-and-desist.” NPA is currently in the midst of a campaign for transparency from the attorney general, with more information available here.

Council For Responsible Nutrition (CRN) president and CEO Steve Mister shares this view, adding that his organization is “confident that the companies subpoenaed will be able to provide the substantiation to support the label claims on their products.” He notes that both the FDA and FTC have measures in place to ensure that advertisements and labels are truthful for dietary supplements, and shares the NPA’s concern about transparency from the Attorney General regarding the DNA testing that led to his actions. CRN has launched a microsite for consumers to keep up with new developments on this issue and its responses.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2015(online 2/13/15)