Vitamins going under FDA microscope

Vitamins sit on the shelf of a CVS pharmacy.

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Vitamins and herbal supplements are regulated by the FDA as foods, not drugs, and now the Feds are clamping down on inaccurate labeling. New quality standards in this $22 billion business start today. Jill Barshay reports.


Jill Barshay: The Food and Drug Administration wants to be sure consumers who buy vitamins are getting what they pay for. Some pills are a lot stronger or weaker than their label says.

Until today FDA put vitamins in the same basket as food, now it's holding them to a higher standard.

Steve Mister represents the dietary supplement industry at the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

Steve Mister: If you think about a food facility, if something comes in and it looks like tomatoes and smells like tomatoes, you can assume it's tomatoes. With these new rules for supplements, they will have to perform some sort of test or analysis, using a valid scientific method, that certifies that if somebody says it's vitamin C, that it is vitamin C.

The FDA won't start penalizing companies who fail to comply until next summer at the earliest.

Even if supplement producers implement the guidelines immediately, consumers won't know. Vitamin packaging won't have any kind of FDA seal of approval.

In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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