Show proof of steroids in supplements, says industry

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dietary supplement

The reputation of the entire dietary supplements industry is at
risk if athletes who seek to explain failed steroid tests on the
grounds that they must have ingested contamination dietary
supplements do not name the offending products, claim three
prominent associations.

The American Herbal Products Association, the National Nutritional Foods Association and the Utah Natural Products Alliance, which between them represent a large slice of the industry, are urging athletes to release the names of the products they allege are contaminated, together with the analytical results on which their claims are based.

"The health supplement industry is committed to do what it can to ensure products taken by anyone - whether elite athletes or the common consumer - contain exactly what is stated on the label," said the associations.

"But broad allegations against the entire class of products are inaccurate and cannot be tolerated."

They added that the FDA should be swift to investigate the presence of undeclared and illegal ingredients in health supplements, saying that products containing steroids are illegal drugs even if they are labeled as 'dietary supplements'.

If such products are in existence, then it would appear that there is inadequate enforcement in place.

But David Seckman, NNFA executive director and CEO, told NutraIngredients-USA.com he is doubtful that steroid contamination of supplements actually occurs at all.

He notes that cases where athletes are accused of taking steroids typically follow a pattern.

"In the end, they usually quietly take the suspension and drop other insinuations," he said.

The associations also point out that there are only a "very limited" number of explanations as to how an unlabeled ingredient might come to be present in a supplement.

Seckman also said that this is a particularly pertinent issue at the moment, as there are several clean sports bills going through Congress, such as the Clean Sports Act 2005 (HR 2565), the Professional Sports Integrity Act (HR 2516), the Sports Act of 2005 (SB 1114) and the Drug-free Sports Act (HR 3084).

"We anticipate some hearings in the Senate this fall, and additional follow-up hearings in the House of Representatives," he said.

Amongst high profile players who have recently claimed to have unknowingly ingested steroids is major league baseball player Raphael Palmeiro of the Baltimore Orioles.

In March this year Palmeiro testified before a committee on government reform hearing that he had never used steroids and offered to act as an advocate to young people about the dangers of steroids.

When, in September, it emerged that he had been suspended for 10 days after having failed a steroids test, Palmeiro insisted that he had not taken steroids "intentionally or knowingly."

External links to companies or organisations mentioned in thisstory: American Herbal Products Association National Nutritional Foods Association

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