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Organic Consumers Association

FDA Breaks Promise on Proposed New Supplement Rules

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Nutri-Con: Info on Vitamins & Supplements page.

FDA promised not to enforce the NDI guidance until it was final. Last Friday, they broke that promise.

The specific provision that FDA has decided to enforce is the one that says synthetic botanicals will no longer be considered New Dietary Ingredients and must never be sold as supplements, only as drugs. Last Friday, FDA issued a press release and sent warning letters to ten companies who sell supplements containing DMAA (dimethylamylamine), which is advertised to increase energy, concentration, and metabolism. The manufacturer says DMAA is derived from the Asian geranium-specifically, geranium oil.

In their warning letters, FDA said the supplements are technically classed as "adulterated" for two reasons: (1) DMAA has not gone through the NDI notification process, and (2) it is a synthetically produced botanical which, by definition, is not an NDI.

However, the claim that a synthetic botanical is not a dietary ingredient is nowhere to be found in the law governing supplements: the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). This new distinction comes exclusively from the NDI draft guidance, which is one reason we called it a perversion of congressional intent.


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