The New York State Attorney General’s office issued cease-and-desist orders to four national drug stores for selling mislabeled generic-branded herbal supplements. It was found that some supplements contained undeclared allergens and were in violation of food safety and labeling laws.
The supplements were being sold at GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens stores around the state. The supplements were cited after random testing found that they did not contain the herbs promised on their labels and some had potential allergens that were not identified.
“Contamination, substitution and falsely labeling herbal products constitute deceptive business practices and more importantly, present considerable health risks for consumers,” said the letters.
Investigators tested 24 products from the four stores for traces of seven herbs said to be in the package. The testing used DNA barcoding to identify ingredients to find if the supplements contained echinacea, garlic, gingko biloba, ginseng, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort and valerian root.
Marketed herbs found to be scarce in supplements
Investigators learned 19 of the 24 supplements had DNA that was either unrecognizable or not from the marketed herb. They also discovered that five of the 24 contained wheat and another two had traces of beans. Both foods are known food allergens that could lead to reactions ranging from hives to anaphylactic shock.
So far the stores involved have all issued statements saying that the supplements are being removed from store shelves.
Source: Washington Post