What's New -- CSPI Press Releases

For Release August 21, 1997

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Tricks And Misleading Labels Fool Dietary Supplement Shoppers

Consumer Activists Expose Market Practices

They "improve your memory." They're "essential in the production of energy." They "improve the ratio of lean muscle to fat."

They're a lot of hogwash.

Some claims on supplement labels are honest. Many others -- while truthful -- are misleading. And you can't depend on the pills' manufacturers or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to tell you which are which.

"In 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act," said David Schardt, an associate nutritionist with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). "But many of the claims the law permits aren't educational unless the class is Marketing 101."

CSPI exposed some of the tricks of the supplement trade in the September issue of its Nutrition Action Healthletter. "It doesn't matter," said CSPI nutrition director Bonnie Liebman, "whether or not the claims come with a disclaimer saying that the FDA hasn't evaluated them."

Six examples of misleading claims that were highlighted in the Nutrition Action article:

CSPI, a nonprofit health-advocacy organization, was founded in 1971. CSPI accepts no government or industry funding. It is supported largely by the 900,000 subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter. The organization is well known for obtaining nutrition labeling on all packaged foods and for its nutritional studies of restaurant foods.

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