Supplement labeling reviewed

FDA is going after dietary supplement manufacturers whose labels are misleading, and the agency has set up a new system for identifying such products and collecting “signals” of possible harmful effects.

Supplement makers must demonstrate that there is “competent and reliable scientific evidence” to back up their label claims. The agency also sent out letters to retailers warning them against selling mislabeled products. Nearly 30ꯠ supplements are on the market, but products are largely free of government oversight.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest called FDA’s action a step in the right direction, but called for companies to get FDA authorization for all health-related claims before they hit the market. FDA’s standard for judging supplement claims is more akin to that for advertising and is weaker than that for copy on product labels. Companies should be required to report known serious adverse reactions to their products rather than doing it voluntarily, CSPI said.

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