US natural products body seeks greater FDA effort on fakes

The Natural Products Association (NPA) has called for greater efforts to be taken by the authorities to block the entry of counterfeit products into the US.

In a letter to members of the US Congress, the organisation – which represents companies operating in the dietary supplements, natural health and sports nutrition, medical and functional foods, probiotics, and natural personal/home care products sectors – says the FDA should step up the use of its authority to issue import alerts for fraudulent products.

“We recognise the historical challenges policymakers are facing during the pandemic,” said NPA chief executive Daniel Fabricant. “However, the COVID-19 crisis should not preclude the FDA from executing its important responsibilities in other areas.”

The NPA says that on the issue of counterfeits, as well as others like the regulation of cannabidiol products, the FDA has not used its existing authorities to properly regulate the industry.

“The agency has had ample opportunities to issue their full authorities on products purported to contain CBD as well as counterfeit products entering the US,” says the letter, noting that dietary supplement marketing, manufacturing, labelling, and advertising are all covered by regulations enforced by the FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Manufacturer of dietary supplements or ingredients are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe before marketing, and once they reach the US market the FDA is responsible for monitoring and has the authority to remove any unsafe dietary supplement product.

Nevertheless, “our industry has experienced several occasions where the FDA has failed to act despite the fact, they have publicly expressed the desire to receive more authorities,” says the letter.

The NPA notes that the US dietary supplement industry is valued at more than $50bn a year, with more than three in four Americans consuming supplements with the aim of maintaining their health.

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