20% of Supplements Illegally Labeled: Feds

Diet and immune-boosting supplements make false, dangerous claims, feds say
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2012 6:43 AM CDT
This undated photo released by the Office of Inspector General of Department of Health and Human Services shows a label from a dietary supplement.   (AP Photo/Office of Inspector General of Department of Health and Human Services)

(Newser) – Dieters beware: A new report has found that dozens of dietary supplements out there bear labels that make false, illegal claims that could pose a major threat to consumers, the AP reports. Federal investigators purchased 127 types of supplements both online and in stores and found that 20% made unsubstantiated claims, with some saying they offered a cure for diabetes or cancer, or could help people with HIV or AIDS.

Companies that did submit proof of their claims cited sources like Wikipedia, online dictionaries, and decades-old reports. False labels run health risks in that they may convince some consumers to take the supplements rather than doctor-approved medication. In response, the FDA says it may ask Congress for more control to review supplement companies' scientific evidence, something federal regulations do not currently require.

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