FDA Warns of Tainted or Fake Dietary Supplements

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FDA logoThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer information update to be on the lookout for tainted or fake dietary supplements.

In its ongoing push against products claiming they're dietary supplements, the FDA has found almost 300 fake products -- most for weight loss, sexual enhancement or body building.In December, the agency sent a warning letter to dietary supplement manufacturers to stop making claims about their products in the wake of a growing number of consumer complaints about supplements that include unlisted ingredients -- some that could have potentially life-threatening side effects.

"These tainted products can cause serious adverse effects, including strokes, organ failure, and death," FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, said in a statement at the time. "The manufacturers selling these tainted products are operating outside the law."

In its consumer information update, the FDA said you should be wary if:
  • A product claims to be an alternative to a FDA-approved drug or have effects similar to a prescription drug.
  • A product claims to be an alternative to anabolic steroids.
  • The product is marketed through emails or if the marketing is in another language.
  • A sexual enhancement product promises rapid or long-lasting effects.
  • The label warns you could test positive in drug tests.
Dietary supplements don't need FDA approval before going ahead and marketing a product -- it's the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure the product's safety, the FDA said. Just this month, a Vitamin C supplement was recalled because it has soy as an ingredient that wasn't listed on the label.
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