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dangerous herbal supplementsA recent report from the New York Times shared the details of a cease-and-desist letter sent to Target, Walgreens, Walmart and GNC In the letter, the New York attorney general’s office alleges that the four retailers have fraudulently sold dangerous supplements under their store brands.

The letter further requests that the items be removed from the shelves immediately in New York.

According to the New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, four out of five or 80% of the supplements that were tested did not actually have any of the ingredients listed.

Schneiderman’s office used DNA testing to assess the most popular herbal supplements at each of the four retailers. They tested:

  • GNC: Herbal Plus brand
    • Gingko Biloba, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Echinacea, Saw Palmetto
  • Target: Up & Up brand
    • Ginkgo Biloba, St. John’s Wort, Echinacea, Saw Palmetto, Valerian Root
  • Walgreen: Finest Nutrition brand
    • Ginkgo Biloba, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Garlic, Echinacea
  • Walmart: Spring Valley brand
    • Ginkgo Biloba, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Garlic, Echinacea, Saw Palmetto

The companies are being accused of stuffing the pills with cheap fillers such as ground rice, houseplants and garlic. It is important to note that the filler ingredients were not listed on the labels. And so, individuals who are allergic to the unnamed ingredients may have been harmed by purchasing the supplements.

The sheer number of Americans who use herbal supplements is staggering. The work of Schneiderman office is particularly important because more than 150 million Americans have consumed herbal supplements.

In firing back against Schneiderman, the herbal supplement industry has attempted to argue that the DNA tests use to test the supplements were flawed. It is no surprise that the herbal supplement swiftly moved to protect their $6 billion industry.

The industry found fault with the results by arguing that the lab tests and equipment used by the attorney general’s office could not accurately capture the ingredients because the DNA of the ingredients may have been destroyed during the processing of the supplements.

At this time, the attorney general’s office is standing by the results of their investigation.

Our firm is committed to ensuring that the rights of consumers across North Carolina are protected. Consumers who have purchased supplements from GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart may be entitled to financial compensation.

Lewis & Keller is currently investigating a class action lawsuit against these large retailers who have fraudulently sold supplements to consumers. If you have purchased supplements from any of these companies, please contact us today.

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