Letter: Vitamins are sufficiently regulated

A file photo of multivitamins (Oct. 11, 2012)

A file photo of multivitamins (Oct. 11, 2012) (Credit: AP/Brigham and Women's Hospital)

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A recent article laments the perceived under-regulation of dietary supplement companies . Citing contaminated products and discussing the "poisons" in supplements, the article is sure to alarm consumers. However, the reality is that dietary supplements are heavily regulated, and the vast majority of supplements are no more harmful than any other food.

The statement that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act "restricts the FDA from exerting authority over supplements as long as manufacturers make no claims about preventing or treating disease" is patently false. There are more than 1,000 pages of laws, regulations and guidances devoted to dietary supplements. Congress and agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission set out strict mandates ranging from good manufacturing practices to supplement safety.

Prior to marketing, manufacturers must ensure that their supplements are safe. If they're not, the FDA has the authority to take action against a company. So when we see a dangerous supplement on the market, we should blame the law-breaker, not the law itself.

Irresponsible companies, not under-regulation of dietary supplements, are behind recent public health crises.

David Torreblanca, Mineola

Editor's note: The writer's law firm represents a number of supplement manufacturers.

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