U.S. gov't announces criminal charges against dietary supplement firms

November 19, 2015 11:39 am 

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 — As part of a yearlong nationwide sweep, the U.S. government announced Tuesday it has brought civil and criminal cases against more than 100 makers and marketers of dietary supplements.

According to a statement released by the Department of Justice and its federal partners, these companies sold supplements that contain ingredients other than those listed on the product label or the sale of products that make health or disease treatment claims that are unsupported by adequate scientific evidence.

"The Justice Department and its federal partners have joined forces to bring to justice companies and individuals who profit from products that threaten consumer health," Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer said in the statement.

Among the cases announced Tuesday is a criminal case charging USPlabs LLC, which was known for its widely popular workout and weight loss supplements sold under names such as Jack3d and OxyElite Pro.

"The USPlabs case and others brought as part of this sweep illustrate alarming practices the department found — practices that must be brought to the public's attention so consumers know the serious health risks of untested products," Mizer said.

The actions resulted from an effort beginning in November 2014 to focus enforcement resources in an area of the dietary supplement market that is causing increasing concern among U.S. health officials.

During the period of the sweep, 117 individuals and entities were pursued through criminal and civil enforcement actions. Of these, 89 were the subject of cases filed since November 2014.

In the last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned of more than 100 products found to contain hidden active ingredients. These products are most frequently marketed for sexual enhancement, weight loss and body building.

Within the last year, the FDA also sent warning letters to manufacturers selling dietary supplements that contain BMPEA and DMBA, two ingredients that do not meet the statutory definition of a dietary ingredient, as well as to several companies selling pure powdered caffeine products that present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury to consumers. (PNA/Xinhua)

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