"But that's just a voluntary notion that mostly appeals just to the big supplement players who want to keep a good reputation and are interested in being part of this group," Sandon cautioned. "Lots of smaller companies may not be so ethical. And either way, the practice still has nothing to do with questions of safety or efficacy," she stressed.
"I don't care how many times something is touted as being natural. All the things they found in these traditional Chinese medicines were natural. Ephedra was natural, and it killed people. Natural does not always equal safe," Sandon stated.
Council for Responsible Nutrition officials would not comment on the findings, suggesting it was inappropriate to confuse traditional Chinese medicines produced under Chinese regulations with dietary supplements manufactured in the United States.
That sentiment was shared by Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council.
While acknowledging that some aspects of traditional Chinese medicine formulation are "alarming and distasteful," Blumenthal concurred that such practices are not representative of the American dietary supplement industry's standards.
For more on traditional Chinese medicine, visit the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
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