In the last couple of years, our area has seen a new wellness beverage being marketed here. This type of item would be considered a dietary supplement.
You should remember that the FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering “conventional” foods and drug products. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed.
FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register their products with FDA nor get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. Manufacturers must make sure that label information is truthful and not misleading.
FDA’s post-marketing responsibilities include monitoring safety and product information. The Federal Trade Commission regulates advertising.
Domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture/process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States are required to register their facility with the FDA.
Who validates claims and what kinds of claims can be made on dietary supplement labels?
FDA receives many consumer inquiries about the validity of claims for dietary supplements, including product labels, advertisements, media and printed materials. The responsibility for ensuring the validity of these claims rests with the manufacturer, FDA, and, in the case of advertising, with the Federal Trade Commission.
By law, manufacturers may make three types of claims for their dietary supplement products: health claims, structure/function claims, and nutrient content claims. Different requirements generally apply to each type of claim.
This information is from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Web site www.hhs.gov. Basically you must remember the rule of “Let the Buyer Beware”. Beware of claims that seem too good to be true.
Bottom line, before you spend a lot of funds on dietary supplements you could probably help yourself by eating a well balanced diet with more fruits and vegetables and work on increasing your physical activity. Usually our bodies absorb vitamins better in the form of food rather than in pill or supplement form.
For more on Extension Resources, check out http://ces.ca .uky.edu/larue.