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

(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.

This undated photo released by the Office of Inspector General of Department of Health and Human Services shows a label from a dietary supplement.
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)
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