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Supplement Scandal Shines Spotlight on Product Purity

When the news broke that the New York Attorney General’s office sent Cease and Desist notifications to four major retail store chains (GNC, Target, Walmart and Walgreens) for selling adulterated or mislabeled dietary supplements, to many it was viewed as a black eye for the industry, but I look at it as a valuable reminder of the importance of maintaining stringent quality standards.

I should note that the Attorney General’s actions have been highly controversial, described by Steven Mister, President and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition as “a self-serving publicity stunt.” As Mister points out, the allegations are based on a novel testing method that has been widely criticized by botanical scientists, rather than more widely recognized procedures.

For herbal products, different identification methods (e.g. chromatography or spectrometry) are used based upon the type of product being evaluated and the stage of processing during which the test is performed (e.g. whole plant, extract, finished product).

Moreover, the scientist who conducted the testing was not an expert in botanical or nutritional science. So it may well turn out to be a false alarm sounded by an attention-seeking politician. Still, I believe the scandal—whether real or manufactured—underscores the importance of getting your herbal supplements from a reputable, trustworthy source. 

Swanson Health Products is fully compliant with cGMPs (current Good Manufacturing Practices) as outlined by FDA in CFR Part 111, which is titled CURRENT GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICE IN MANUFACTURING, PACKAGING, LABELING, OR HOLDING OPERATIONS FOR DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS.

Those who contend that the industry is not regulated need only to review the Code of Federal Regulations to see that we are, in fact, regulated by FDA. We are regularly audited both by NSF and by FDA to ensure continued compliance.

We stand behind the quality and truthful labeling of our products. Every Swanson brand product sold is supported by our 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee. Because we do not sell through national retailers, we are able to control every stage of our distribution, ensuring that you get the freshest,highest-quality supplements in every bottle.

I do not know all of the facts behind the New York Attorney General’s sting operation, but I caution everyone against a rush to judgment. Are these companies guilty until proven innocent, or will they be given the dignity of defense by the AG and, more importantly, the court of public opinion? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, please rest assured that the products you buy from Swanson Health Products are produced with care using the finest ingredients, just as we’ve done for over 45 years. On that you have my personal, 100% unconditional guarantee.

Lee Swanson Research Update



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