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FDA’s New Dietary Requirements: Don’t take my vitamins away
If you haven’t heard, the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has proposed a rather hefty set of new laws on vitamins, herbs and dietary supplements. In general, the proposal is to treat these types of products as ‘synthetic food preservatives” and to treat them to the rigorous testing standards and protocols. The proposal seems to have been prompted by the enormous layers of complaints, problems and claims regarding some of the athletic supplements and energy drink products on the market. It depends on who you talk to whether you are for or against this new proposal, but, if it passes it can cause a plethora of difficulties – including increased costs for the consumer.
The dietary supplement community already has a set of guidelines called The Dietary Supplement Health and Information Act of 1994 (DSHEA). This act is a list of guidelines that are strictly reviewed and governed by a number of organizations in the natural and supplement industry. Some of these organizations include: Natural Products Association, The American Botanical Council, American Herbal Products Association, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, American Herbalists Guild, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition, Institute for Nutraceutical Advancement, Herb Research Foundation, Non-Prescription Drug Manufacturers Association, NSF International.
The new bill proposed by the FDA would change the categorization of supplements, vitamins and herbs so that many would be listed as harmful. The language of the bill is so broad that it could potentially wreak havoc in the natural products industry, causing innocent supplements to be removed from the market and businesses to shut down. The bill would require that supplement companies devote time and money into an eight year study of each supplement to finalize the safety requirement. The testing criteria would cover the topics of: toxicity, birth defects and gene mutation and would have an estimated cost of around $20 billion. Considering the supplement industry has a $25 billion per year sales figure, the NDI Safety Tests, as they are called, could potentially pull all dietary supplements off the market. Other potential hazards of this proposed bill would be the elimination of children’s and pre-natal vitamin sources. The elevation of this proposed bill seems unusual as there have been no reported outbreak problems in toxicity or birth defects.
Now here is a pretty interesting piece of information: An industry source informed Bill Sardi, President of Knowledge and Health, Inc. (and a watchdog of the supplement industry) that it cost them $80 billion to get approval of one new food ingredient through the FDA process.
There are grassroots programs popping up all over the place to oppose this bill. The Natural Products Association has started the best-know program, covering the topic heavily in both their Expo West Convention in Anaheim, CA and the Expo East Convention in Baltimore, MD. If you visit any vitamin or health food store you may also see petitions to sign to assist in supporting a movement to eliminate this bill.
You might ask, if this bill passes, who is going to benefit? Well, it won’t be you and I. We could potentially have all of our vitamin and supplement choices removed from the shelves and those that remain would be at such a high cost, only the very wealthy could afford them. So now, we have supplement companies that have gone out of business, few choices of vitamins that we can barely afford but, those may survive the mayhem give us great assurance that they are safe. Really? Safe? As safe as the medications that the FDA currently approves? These same medications that we pay ridiculous prices for and yet have side effects that have a larger list than the benefits themselves? Safe, when lawsuits abound on medication effects that have caused additional illnesses and even death?
Well, with the doors closed to the supplement companies, who do you think will walk in as the super heroes? Why, the pharmaceutical companies, of course. They are already set up to comply with FDA testing and standards. The pharmaceutical companies have the ability abide by all requirements and can whip up a man-made, artificial substitute for all of the herbal, natural products as well as our vitamims and supplements.
In an effort to curb a few companies and products that have made questionable claims on their products, doesn’t it make more sense to turn them over for a deep internal investigation of the over 11 organizations already established to assist in the watchdog process?
As a consumer, I have only one question: who is behind the initial concept of this proposed bill? I bet, if you dig deep enough, you will find a hidden and profit-based agenda.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Vitamins21 Sep 2011|