For some background context, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch released a video on The Department of Justice’s YouTube channel discussing dietary supplements during National Consumer Protection Week.
Lynch targeted the “bad actors in the dietary supplement industry,” adding that many Americans “don’t know [that] dietary supplements are not subject to testing by the Food and Drug Administration before they reach store shelves – meaning that every day, millions of Americans are ingesting substances whose safety and efficacy are not guaranteed.”
Targeting the industry?
Many parts of the speech were colored with language that rubbed industry insiders the wrong way, such as “some of these supplements are simply a waste of money,” or “made from untested synthetic chemicals from China.”
“It read like the kind of thing one might say, as a prosecutor, to an individual. So it was surprising to hear that kind of language used in a statement about an entire industry,” Anthony Young of Kleinfeld, Kaplan and Becker, who represents the American Herbal Products Association, told NutraIngredients-USA.
Marc Ullman, of counsel with the firm Rivkin Radler, had a similar reaction, saying that he didn’t see any particular point to the video. “It struck me as something one-off,” he added.
“She hadn’t spoken on the issue since she’s been confirmed, and we haven’t heard of anything since,” Ullman added. “I don’t think it’s anything we need to worry about or signal of any kind of new initiative.”
Very little impact
Two weeks after the video’s release, the video, with only 991 views on YouTube, has not won the attention of the mainstream.
“Loretta Lynch is not the surgeon general, she’s not the head of FDA, she’s not head of the CDC, she’s not Dr. Oz, she’s not Oprah—she’s not an opinion leader in the consumer market place,” Young said.
“I think it’s important to understand that this kind of statement is simply going to come and go. [The US AG’s] law firm, basically the largest law firm in the world, prosecutes civil and criminal actions against companies that violate the Food Drug, and Cosmetic Act,” he added. "She has very little exposure to the many, many companies that are lawfully conducting their dietary supplement business."