Retailer GNC agrees to test its herbal supplements after NY probe

World Today

Painting from the ‘Illustration of Lei Gong preparing medicines’, a book printed in 1591 during the Ming Dynasty. Lei is teaching humankind how to prepare drugs.

An American nutrition retailer has reached an agreement with New York State over herbal supplements. GNC Holdings was one of four store brands that stopped selling herbal products after DNA testing showed many of them did not contain the plants listed on the labels.

The company will now adopt testing standards that exceed federal health standards.

CCTV’s Nick Harper reported this story.

Retailer GNC agrees to test its herbal supplements after NY probe

Retailer GNC agrees to test its herbal supplements after NY probe

An American nutrition retailer has reached an agreement with New York State over herbal supplements. GNC Holdings was one of four store brands that stopped selling herbal products after DNA testing showed many of them did not contain the plants listed on the labels.

The company agreed to testing after an investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermann. With the agreement in place, GNC can begin selling herbal supplements in New York again. The state’s probes into supplements made by Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and Target are ongoing.

The agreement to test beyond federal health standards is a first in the United States, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

According to the National Institutes of Health, many herbal supplements still have untested claims. Here are some popular herbal supplements and NIH findings:

Herbal Supplements

GNC has agreed to test and authenticate its herbal supplements after an investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermann. According to the National Institutes of Health, many herbal supplements still have untested claims. Here are some popular herbal supplements and NIH findings.

Black Cohash
Black Cohash
Hoodia
Hoodia
Acai
Acai
Valerian
Valerian
Ginseng
Ginseng
Cranberry
Cranberry
St. John's Wort
St. John's Wort
Echinacea
Echinacea
Ginko
Ginko
Dandelion
Dandelion

The end of a dispute that started on Feb. 2 sent the company’s shares up as much as 8 percent to a 52-week high of $49.65 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

The company did not have to pay any monetary damages, just implement reforms, Elizabeth DeBold, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office said.

GNC was one of four retailers that halted sales of certain supplements after being subpoenaed by Schneiderman as DNA tests failed to detect plant materials that the companies claimed were a part of their supplements.

Both internal and independent third-party tests had proved that GNC’s “products are safe, pure, properly labeled and in full compliance with all regulatory requirements”, the company said in a statement on Monday.

GNC had said earlier that tests showed its products contained all herbal extracts listed on labels, and on Monday the company said it had restarted selling its Herbal Plus products.

A study commissioned by the Attorney General to determine the presence or absence of the DNA of certain plants in some herbal supplements also found GNC’s products were within prescribed FDA guidelines, Schneiderman’s statement said.

GNC will start DNA barcoding within 18 months to confirm the authenticity of all plants used as sources for its herbal supplements prior to processing, Schneiderman said.

The company would test for allergen contamination pre and post production and had also agreed to prominently disclose in its stores and on its website if a supplement product was derived from whole herbs or extracts, Schneiderman said.

Herbal Plus is part of GNC’s vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements business, which accounts for almost 40 percent of its U.S. retail revenue.

The investigation into the supplements sold by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Target Corp was ongoing, DeBold said.

Walgreens was reviewing the matter and intends to continue cooperating with the Attorney General’s office, spokesperson James Graham said.

Story compiled with information from CCTV America and Reuters reports.