Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Truth in labeling? Not when herbal supplements are concerned

The Proxmire Amendment May Be the Most Anti-Science Law Ever Passed. It's Still in Effect Today.

Posted by Ross Pomeroy on September 10, 2015, RealClearScience

Earlier this year, testing conducted by the New York State attorney general's office revealed that four out of every five herbal supplements sold at GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart did not contain any of the herbs advertised on their labels. Instead, the products were filled with things like powdered rice, asparagus, garlic, and radish.

The damning discovery left some wondering, "Where was the FDA? Shouldn't they prevent this sort of wrongdoing?"

The disconcerting answer is that the FDA was doing precisely what Congress permits them to do: absolutely nothing. That's right, according to current law, the FDA is essentially prevented from regulating the supplement industry unless there's clear evidence that one of their products is harmful to consumers.

For this sorry state of affairs, you can thank what may be the most influential anti-science legislation ever passed in American politics: the Vitamin-Mineral (Proxmire) Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Journalist Catherine Price succinctly summed up the law's effects in her new book Vitamania:

(Continued here.)

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