The New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman, recently announced that his office sent cease and desist letters to four major retailers, GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens, for allegedly selling store brand herbal supplements that either did not contain the labeled substance, or contained ingredients that were not listed on the labels. The cease and desist letters demanded that the giant retailers to immediately stop selling the popular herbal products, including Echinacea, Ginseng, St. John’s Wort, and others.
The New York AG’s office also demanded that the retailers provide detailed information about the production, processing and testing of the herbal supplements, as well as explain in detail their production quality control measures.
The factual basis for the AG’s action is DNA testing of the herbal supplements. The DNA test results show that only 21% of the store brand herbal supplements contained DNA from the plants listed on the products’ labels, whereas 79% of the products failed to contain any DNA related to the labeled content. Walmart was by far the worst offender of all of the major retailers with only 4% of the Walmart products actually containing DNA that matched the product label.