Local News

New Dietary Supplement Seal Will Ensure Honest Ingredients

Posted December 12, 2002

— Experts say many people do not know that the

Food and Drug Administration

does not regulate dietary supplements.

Beginning in Decmeber, a new verification program may help clear up problems. A new certification seal will appear on some dietary supplements.

In the past, some consumers have purchased phony supplements.

"There have been cases where ginseng capsules contained sawdust," said Srini Vasan, Ph. D, vice president of the

U.S. Pharmacopeia

Verification Program.

The new seal was designed by the USP, an organization that sets pharmaceutical standards.

Representatives said the label is intended to identify the contents inside a supplement bottle, but it is not intended to be an advertisement.

"That's the most important fundamental requisite," Vasan said.

Vasan explained that supplement manufacturers submit their products for testing.

"This is a voluntary program," she said.

USP visited labs to ensure that companies were following safety guidelines. Then, samples were taken to their labs for testing.

Testers checked that the amount of the active ingredient on the label matched the contents of the supplement.

The supplements must also be free of contaminates such as lead, mercury and E. coli and have to dissolve within a specific time to deliver the active ingredients.

If a supplement passed the test, they receive the USP seal of approval.

Vasan said he hopes the seal will take out some of the guesswork in buying supplements.

"We are the differentiator. We differentiate by our program the good product from those that do not deserve to be on the marketplace at all," Vasan said.

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