June 1, 2011

Do Your Homework Before Taking Supplements - P1

Have you heard of GMP (good manufacturing practices)? Most people have not and for good reason. Congress authorized FDA to set up a plan, but did not make it mandatory. Several organizations that have members among the supplement manufactures set up and submitted some plans to the FDA, but nothing happened. The Federal Drug Administration has done nothing about this, except, yes there is always an exception, occasionally rattling the cage about investigating some supplement here and there.

If you are looking for a reliable manufacturing seal on supplements, forget about it. Those that do exist have no weight of enforcement behind them and are industry developed to say that they have seals of quality for the supplement. The level of quality varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer and does not guarantee absolute quality or even that what may be claimed on the product can be depended upon.

I have had health store employees tell me that their products are manufactured under the GMP and have a quality guarantee seal. When I ask who issued the seal, they look at me as if I must have misunderstood their statement and repeat it. When I ask to see the official government seal, they point out the manufacturers seal. I ask if it has been approved by the FDA. Their answer is often yes. Then I ask under which government authorization act was this authorized. Smiles come then and they say The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). Thinking they had me, they want to know which supplements I wish to purchase.

I then say that I am aware of the act of 1994, but it only authorized FDA to set up regulations, but that the FDA had never set up any regulations. I then say I don't like smoke being blown up my - you know where - and promptly leave the store. One store even had the nerve to call me back to inquire which government agency I worked for. I refused to answer naturally, but did say a full report would be filed. This I did, but to my congressional representative in an email, which I am sure was routed to the delete file.

Over the years, I have only had one store that answered my questions correctly and admitted there was no way to be sure of the quality in every batch from the manufacturer, but that if I felt that something was wrong with any purchase I made they would refund any money upon presentation of the store receipt. I was tempted, but could not bring myself to pay the price asked as it was almost double what I would have paid from any grocery store or warehouse type store.

Do I use any supplements? Yes, I do after I have check out the manufacturer and found few, if any complaints via their local better business bureau and several other agencies. I also look at their internet site for possible claims they make about their products.

There are many conflicting sites of information about supplements and I may not have the best ones, but I looked at approximately 20 sites and chose these.  Site 1, Site 2, Site 3, and Site 4.  Even though several of the sites show seals to be applied to products, none of them have any government enforcement authority to assure quality.

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