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BREAKING NEWS: State Attorneys General Call for “Comprehensive Congressional Inquiry into the Herbal Supplements Industry”

omega3This morning, a coalition of attorneys general, including New York’s Attorney General Schneiderman, sent a letter to four congressional leaders to “urge [them] to launch a comprehensive congressional inquiry into the herbal supplements industry, and to weigh a more robust oversight role for the Food and Drug Administration.” This letter comes approximately two months after Schneiderman’s call for four major retailers to stop selling their supplements, and industry’s response that Schneiderman’s office used inappropriate testing methodology in its analysis. In this morning’s letter, Schneiderman and the attorneys general of eleven other states, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands paint a doom-and-gloom portrait of the dietary supplement industry. They highlight contamination, good manufacturing practices (“GMPs”) violations, and various lapses in quality control. Finally, they ask the Congressmen (and their respective subcommittees) to work with the Food and Drug Administration to address their concerns about the quality and safety of supplements.

With pressure mounting on Congress to take action against supplements, Congress could respond in a number of ways. It is possible that Congress will hold hearings, or even that Congress will amend DSHEA, the law that defines and outlines the regulation of dietary supplements. While there is no way to tell whether Congress will take up the attorneys’ general call to arms, it has been apparent that the mainstream media will. Schneiderman’s February inquiry into the supplement industry made headlines across the nation. In the meantime, heightened dedication to GMPs, quality control, and good marketing and advertising practices is the best protection. If you have questions on how to bring your supplement brand into compliance, or any other concerns about how best to avoid regulatory pitfalls, call the dietary supplement lawyers at Collins, McDonald & Gann at (516) 294-0300. Stay tuned.