Remember , it was the crunchies who forced the FDA to stop regulating this crap

Trust me: I play a scientist on TV

Trust me: I play a scientist on TV

Three out of six “all-natural” supplements lack any of their named ingredients at all.

The New York State attorney general’s office accused four major retailers on Monday of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements and demanded that they remove the products from their shelves.

The authorities said they had conducted tests on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart — and found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels. The tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies.

Among the attorney general’s findings was a popular store brand of ginseng pills at Walgreens, promoted for “physical endurance and vitality,” that contained only powdered garlic and rice. At Walmart, the authorities found that its ginkgo biloba, a Chinese plant promoted as a memory enhancer, contained little more than powdered radish, houseplants and wheat — despite a claim on the label that the product was wheat- and gluten-free.

Three out of six herbal products at Target — ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort and valerian root, a sleep aid — tested negative for the herbs on their labels. But they did contain powdered rice, beans, peas and wild carrots. And at GNC, the agency said, it found pills with unlisted ingredients used as fillers, like powdered legumes, the class of plants that includes peanuts and soybeans, a hazard for people with allergies.

Under a 1994 federal law, supplements are exempt from the F.D.A.’s strict approval process for prescription drugs, which requires reviews of a product’s safety and effectiveness before it goes to market.

The law’s sponsor and chief architect, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, is a steadfast supporter of supplements. He has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the industry and repeatedly intervened in Washington to quash proposed legislation that would toughen the rules.

Mr. Hatch led a successful fight against a proposed amendment in 2012 that would have required supplement makers to register their products with the F.D.A. and provide details about their ingredients. Speaking on the floor of the Senate at the time, Mr. Hatch said the amendment was based on “a misguided presumption that the current regulatory framework for dietary supplements is flawed.”

To be fair to the crunchies, they were, and remain, dupes of Mr. Republican, Orrin Hatch, who pushed through the law to keep a number of Utah-based quackeries in business. . That said, it’s ironic that the very people who fight libertarians’ efforts to deregulate other parts of the economy, who fret whether their cage-free-chickens are fed merely “vegetable” feed instead of the preferred grass, and who would call in a hazmat team if a teaspoon of trans-fat spilled on a grocery’s floor, swallow this stuff wholesale, and pay a premium to do so.

Political corruption and a gullible, ignorant constituency: it’s a winner every time.


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28 responses to “Remember , it was the crunchies who forced the FDA to stop regulating this crap

  1. AJ

    Class action lawsuit? Somebody needs to go to jail.

    • anonymous

      Dr. Oz should be the number one in line to go to jail. Snake oil salesman of the first degree. It’s people like him and Gwenyth who put forth vitamin supplements as the solution to all life’s problems.

  2. AJ

    “. . . An analysis of 200 FDA-backed pharmaceutical drugs even found that almost 33% of approved drugs were granted the approval over a single piece of clinical study. . . .”

    And let’s not forget FDA approved Vioxx and Fen-phen and the results. But at the very least, there should be independent, third party testing and certification so that people can be assured that they are buying what they think they are buying. The same can be said for GMOs: people have a right to know what they are buying and putting in their bodies.

  3. Publius


    You are missing the point; do not vaccinate but take all sorts of mislabeled stuff as noted, colon cleanse, and steam clean one’s naughty bits to ward off illness and disease. You are such a barbarian. I can’t believe that you grew up in Greenwich, no less the Riverside section of Greenwich!

    • Anonymous

      It’s a shame that we have politicians telling people that vaccines should be a parent’s choice. Taking a placebo of mixed vegetable powder will not put others around at risk (it might indeed make you an idiot, though).

      • AJ

        All of your children, are belong to us. If it saves the life of one child. Those who would give up essential Liberty . . . Statist to the core. Putting others at risk? Only those who don’t take the vaccine are at risk, that is unless taking the vaccine is pointless, meaning it offers no protection, which, either way, makes your argument a non sequitur.

        • Anonymous

          Not if my child is less than one year old or has a compromised immune system.

        • AJ

          If it saves the life of one child? So should everyone be forced to take a flu vaccine? Should everyone with a cold be forced to wear a mask in public? Should everyone who has visited a doctor be quarantined for three weeks to make sure they didn’t catch something from someone in the waiting room? Would you even take such a child to a doctors office where the risk of coming in contact with an infectious disease is highest? And would you make your infant or immune compromised child wear a mask and gloves, and would you wear a mask and gloves whenever leaving the house as an extra precaution from bringing disease into your home to protect that infant or child? And would you home school your child to protect him from communicable diseases or must the whole world meet your standards, a world of the lowest common denominator?

        • AJ

          Here’s a video about a three year old who died from receiving her recommended flu vaccine. Tragic beyond belief. So what you’re saying is that other people should risk their lives so that you and yours don’t have to risk your own?

        • Anonymous

          There are tragic stories all around. I see your point, but find mine to be valid, as well. And not for nothing, adults are at risk, too. Most of us only had one dose of the measles vaccine, not the recommended two.

        • Yos

          Only those who don’t take the vaccine are at risk…” Not so fast.

          Those who don’t take a vaccine are at statistically increased risk relative to the cohort that doesn’t. This includes the opportunity risk of vaccination.

          Too, those who refuse vaccination are thus more likely to transmit the pathogen. There will always be counter-exemplars.

          On the other hand, even the few who *do* vaccinate create significant vector limitors for the many about them who *do not*.

          Stuff happens. There are no absolutes, no guarantees.

          OK, perhaps one: Anything guaranteed to be in the lesser interest of trial lawyers is the way to go.

        • AJ

          Point is that in a free country the Government doesn’t have the right to stick a needle in your arm or your child’s arm without your permission. Ask the Desert Storm veterans who were forced to take the anthrax vaccine. That didn’t work out too well for them.

          Bill Gates is currently being sued in India for deaths caused by his trials of vaccines on children there. And don’t forget Governor Rick Perry tried to make Gardasil, a vaccine for cervical cancer, mandatory for boys as well as girls, as are a number of other states @ $380 a shot, aka, a gold mine. In addition to a number of deaths around the world, Gardasil is also responsible for causing convulsions, a number of paralyses, and brain damage.

          At the end of the following video in a presentation given by Bill Gates at the Ted Talks @ 2:38 to 2:50, Gates claims that the world population can be reduced by 15% through the use of vaccines. WTF? Earlier in the clip he talks about reducing carbon emissions to zero, something that would cause life on this planet to cease to exist as we know it — guess he’s planning on becoming a morlock, or is he planning on having his soul transplanted to a machine? Remember, these are the same people that claim global warming is the cause of volcanoes, and that the land is rising in Iceland, the whole country is one big volcano, because of glacier melt from global warming. I guess the five to ten foot land rises in Naples are being caused by global warming also and has nothing to do with the Campi Flegrei or Vesuvius.

  4. Anonymous

    More people are killed by prescription drugs than vitamins and supplements. Go seek the advice from someone who truly understands supplements. A strong individually designed supplement program that supports your own immune system will help your body heal and prevent illness. I had been on prescription drugs for arthritis for 40 years and are now living with the drug side effects (osteoporosis, etc). I am off all drugs, take a targeted supplement program and exercise and am living with less pain and a higher quality of life.

  5. Yos

    Chris, so I don’t see the problem here. Supplement manufacturers are voluntarily holding themselves to the same standard used by government in the naming of regulations and bills. [coughaffordablehealthcareactcough]

    • AJ

      Somebody — I can think of a number of people from the Criminal in Chief on down — REALLY needs to go to jail!

  6. Matt

    Rather than relying on supplements and magic pills, most people should just try eating healthier and sweating once in a while, it would do wonders.

    Of course I understand that many people do require certain supplements or medications for their well-being, this is not directed at them.

    • AJ

      Modern agriculture has depleted the soil of much of its nutrients.

      “Vegetables Without Vitamins

      Imagine the surprise of going online and discovering that the vitamin and mineral content of vegetables has drastically dropped.

      That’s what happened to nutritionist, Alex Jack, when he went to check out the latest US Department of Agriculture food tables. The stunning revelation came after Jack compared recently published nutrient values with an old USDA handbook he had lying around. Some of the differences in vitamin and mineral content were enormous-a 50% drop in the amount of calcium in broccoli, for example. Watercress down 88% in iron content; cauliflower down 40% in vitamin C content-all since 1975.

      Jack took his findings to the USDA, hoping for a reasonable explanation. That was two years ago. He’s still waiting. So is Organic Gardening magazine, which published an open letter, seeking an explanation from Dan Glickman, Secretary of Agriculture. Glickman didn’t respond, but USDA employee, Phyllis E. Johnson did. Johnson (who is head of the Beltsville area office), suggested to Organic Gardening that the nutrient drain should be put in context. According to her, the 78% decrease in calcium content of corn is not significant because no one eats corn for calcium. She further explains that the problem may not even exist at all; that the apparent nutrient dips could be due to the testing procedures. For example, “changes in the public’s perception of what the edible portion is may determine what parts have been analyzed over time.” In other words, back when the old food tables were made up, people may have been eating the cobb too, so they got more nutrients.

      The Vitamin Drain

      We decided to look into this further. Jack had used a 1975 version of the food tables for his research. We dredged up a 1963 version. After comparing the nutrient values for over a dozen fruits and vegetables, it was clear that the nutrient value of many foods has dropped, in some cases drastically. For example, the amount of vitamin C in sweet peppers has plummeted from 128 mg to 89 mg.= The vitamin A in apples has dropped from 90 mg to 53 mg. . . .”

      • Flash

        So why are we living longer?

        • Jackb26 Brem

          Don’t worry.. they’re trying to put a stop to that…

        • AJ

          So why are we living longer? Could it be supplements?

          But how much longer are we really living? For white males living in the US, the life expectancy for those born between 1959-1961 was 67.55; for 1969-1971, 67.94; for 1979-1981, 70.82; for 1990, 72.7; for 2000, 74.8; for 2004, 75.7; and for 2012, the latest figures given, 76.4.

          On the other hand, the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) is projecting that by 2030 the incidents of colon and rectal cancers among young adults aged 20-34 will increase by 90% and 124%, respectively. Lack of nutrition? GMOs? Eugenicist controlled death vaccines, get yours while the supply lasts?

          • AJ, for obvious reasons, I’m morbidly fascinated (pun intended) by the rise in colon cancer in young people. Some diseases have seen an increase mostly, I think, because we’re now living long enough for them to appear, but colon cancer has always been considered an older person’s disease, so much so that even now medical protocol still suggests screening for it only beginning at 50, yet now it’s surging among the 20-40 cohort. It’s got to be environmental: diet, toxins, something; but what’s causing it is, for now a mystery. Unfortunately, because no one is checking for it among young people, by the time the symptoms are severe enough to prompt a colonoscopy, it’s too late.

            So yeah – for all my rantings about people who hyperventilate over imaginary poisons in our food, there’s something happening and I don’t know what it is; do you, Mr. Brown?

        • AJ

          One of the largest studies to date conducted by researchers from the University Hospitals Case Medical Center (UH) Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital has found a dramatic increase in inflammatory bowel conditions (IBD) in children in the U.S. in the last decade, likely due to eating GMOs.

          While the incidence of IBD has caused many hospitalizations, the reasons behind the disease are unclear, except for one culprit – the consumption of genetically modified ingredients. This, mostly from school lunches, eating processed GMO foods at home, and at restaurants. The complete study can be found online in the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

          There has been a 65% increase in IBD hospital discharges from 2000 to 2009. The number increased from 11,928 discharges in 2000 to 19,568 discharges in 2009.

          GMOs have become ubiquitous, and for the average person, nearly impossible to avoid because, unfortunately, there are currently no labeling requirements. It would be interesting to do a control group study to compare those who eat the standard fare to those who consume no GMOs. One of the “benefits” of GMOs is that it allows for the massive spraying of glyphosate, which in addition to contaminating food, is running off into the water supply.

  7. Truth Is

    100% of all dietary supplements are completely UNregulated by the FDA.
    The FDA’s stance on anything that isn’t a food, “not our problem”
    So, the companies that sell this crap, making Mega Billions on an annual basis literally get away with murder, theft, deception, the works.
    And it’s perfectly legal.

    Sure they’ve had lawsuits here and there, but it’s very easy to get around, much like the hedge fund industry.

    They file for bankruptcy & close up shop.
    And reopen the following day with a new name, new LLC, new phone number, same crappy, BS, good for nothing fairy dust.

    Sure they have to slap “proprietary blend” on the bottle:
    Or ” These claims/statements have not been evaluated by the FDA”
    But does it stop anyone from buying??, NOPE.

    • Yos

      NOPE, indeed, but then…

      On the one hand there is “Caveat Emptor“; on the other, ‘Regulation’ that better serves the needs of graft and corruption. Plenty of regulated products and services actually provide no regulatory benefit beyond campaign donations and keeping regulators off the unemployment roles.

      I suggest the Caveat Emptor School of Regulation: Just because regulation has its place does not mean that its place is everywhere.

  8. pulled up in OG

    A US senator has suggested that restaurants should not have to make their employees wash their hands after toilet visits.

    Senator Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, made the comments on Monday during a speech criticising business regulations.

    “Let them decide” such issues, the newly elected lawmaker said.

    His argument was that restaurants which did not require workers to wash their hands would quickly go out of business.

    “But I think it’s good to illustrate the point, that that’s the sort of mentality we need to have to reduce the regulatory burden on this country,” Mr Tillis said.

    He suggested that restaurants that did not require hand washing would have to alert customers with prominently displayed signs – itself a regulation.

  9. Anonymous

    Another fedgov department run by a bunch of dumbass losers on the public dole?
    Say it ain’t so.