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The codex alemantarius train seems to be preparing to leave the station again

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The codex alemantarius train seems to be preparing to leave the station again

Following the revelation that GNC, Walmart, Target, and Walgreens have been selling what amounts to allergenic sawdust instead of the herbs on their supplement labels, Attourneys General from Connecticut, NY, Indiana, and Puerto Rico are now forming a coalition, hoping to get more states to climb on board. If the New York Times tone is be be believed, the intention seems to be the regulation of nutritional supplements like prescription drugs.

Trade groups have been taking issue with the investigtation into the compaies' products, which uses DNA analysis in order to figure out what's in the supllements. The trade groups say "the testing would not reveal plant DNA in herbal extracts because the genetic material is destroyed during the extraction process," and that "the procedure could not determine whether unlisted ingredients like gluten and rice were present in large quantities, or only in trace amounts below the legal thresholds."

Now, to me, the idea that an herbal supplement would have no remaining DNA of the plant it's supposed to contain because of the extraction process seems pretty damn sketchy. At the very best, it means that they're probably extracting it in a really stupid way, as many supplement companies have their products volunatarily assayed, and many are standardized to contain the same amount of the active component of the herb in each dose (including GNC's second and third tier product lines.) I would have a hard time believing that those supplements would have no remaining DNA of the plant they're supposed to contain (but they aren't the products this investigation is interested in.) As far as allergens, well, I haven't really looked closely enough into the testing proceedures to take issue with whether it could be trace amounts or not... In any case, these four stores are some of the largest, if not the largest, retailers in the world, and GNC has been the world's largest supplement retailer since the late 90's (I worked for them when they became the largest, it was a big deal.) I wouldn't put anything past them, up to and including planning for this fiasco to see the light of day in an effort to psuh toward Napoleonic Codex standards (read: unless it's codified as legal, it's illegal.)

Having a coalition of states demanding change in the supplement market is what got the FDA to ban ephedra in 2006, and it could force similar re-examination on the federal level. Given enough momentum, It could work towards the most dystopian fears of anti-Codex activists.

“New York Attorney General Targets Supplements at Major Retailers”

“What’s in Those Supplements?”

Safety of Herbal Supplements Pulls Prosecutors Together