The story broke on Feb. 3, 2015, when NYAG Eric Schneiderman announced an investigation of herbal dietary supplements that were for sale in New York State by four large retailers: GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart. Using a by now thoroughly discredited testing methodology that relied solely on DNA barcoding, Schneiderman alleged that the supplements contained little or none of the stated herbs on the label, and also contained DNA traces of unexpected material. He ordered the products to be pulled from the shelves. To read the article in full, click here.
Over a period of roughly four months, Schneiderman took multiple significant and unprecedented actions against herbal products, companies, and manufacturers. in addition to taking the aforementioned retailers to task, in March, he announced a “landmark” deal with GNC, in which the company agreed to employ DNA barcoding analysis of all herbal raw materials used to produce ingredients for its herbal supplements; and, in April, his coalition of state attorneys general asked Congress to launch an inquiry into the supplements industry.
The current issue of HerbalGram, ABC’s periodical publication, also features a summary of two DNA barcoding-related white papers issued by a coalition of industry trade groups and leaders of the Natural Products Association, respectively, by American Botanical Council (ABC) Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, PhD, and an editorial on the misuse of DNA methods by the NY AG written by ABC Founder and Executive Director, Mark Blumenthal, available here.