Senators question DNA testing of herbal supplements as NY Attorney General expands investigation

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Senators question DNA testing of herbal supplements as NY Attorney General expands investigation

Published: Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week to ask if DNA testing is an appropriate method to identify botanical ingredients in supplements.

"It is our understanding that the process of extracting an herb's phytochemicals used for finished products can either damage, destroy or simply leave behind the DNA," the letter states.

DNA testing of herbal products is at the heart of recent allegations by the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that 19 supplement products did not include botanical ingredients listed on the label.

"Attorney General Schneiderman has refused to make the test results and the details of the study methodology public, and questions about the appropriateness of DNA testing for herbal extracts have been raised that merit consideration," the senators' letter states.

NY AG expands investigation to manufacturers

Despite an increasing number of experts asserting on the record that the Attorney General's allegations are based on an invalidated and inappropriate testing method, the Attorney General expanded his investigation of herbal supplements on Monday.

In what appears to be a duplication of FDA's work to enforce current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) requirements, the Attorney General sent letters to four supplement manufacturers demanding detailed information about ingredients and quality control for every herbal supplement sold in New York. The manufacturers make several of the supplements that the Attorney General ordered to be removed from Walmart, Walgreen's, Target and GNC.

AHPA continues to actively refute the Attorney General's herbal supplement allegations and disseminate accurate information and help members respond to inquiries sparked by flawed DNA testing.

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