Following up on a post from June 30, the question of consumer confidence in nutritional supplements arises again. The Times-Herald reports that many supplements have quality problems. No one knows just how many of 40,000 products underdeliver on the goods listed their labels and over-deliver on unlisted, harmful ingredients and contaminants. “I believe that the problem is narrow, that the well-established and reputable brands deserve their reputations,” Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association, tells the paper that serves the Hudson Valley of New York.
The article then reels off test results that indicate a much broader problem: “In ConsumerLab.com tests, six out of nine chondroitin supplements failed testing in April 2007. One had only 8 percent of what it claimed to contain, and one ‘maximum strength’ product had none.”
How big will the elephant become before the people in the room acknowledge its presence? And who will act first: manufacturers, regulators, consumers, Congress, a state attorney general, or a sharp civil attorney? And which company will be hounded out of existence as an example to others in the industry?