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Is that a supplement or veggie dust?

New York law enforcement wants to know.

If you’ve taken a generic store-brand supplement from Walgreens, Target, Wal-Mart or GNC recently, it may have been little more than vegetable dust. That’s at least according to four cease and desist letters filed Monday by the New York State attorney general’s office addressed to the retailers. 

The agency claims some of the store-branded supplements offer misguided claims about ingredients and benefits. 

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Some of the highlights, as reported by the New York Times:

“A popular store brand of ginseng pills at Walgreens, promoted for 'physical endurance and vitality,' [contains] only powdered garlic and rice. At Wal-Mart, the authorities found that its ginkgo biloba, a Chinese plant promoted as a memory enhancer, contained little more than powdered radish, houseplants and wheat — despite a claim on the label that the product was wheat- and gluten-free.”

For the mega-retailers, this marks the first time they’ve been targeted by law enforcement for dietary supplement health claims. 

Walgreens took immediate action, announcing a plan to pull the designated supplements from its shelves nationwide, while GNC issued a statement to the NYT saying, “the company would cooperate with the attorney general ‘in all appropriate ways,’ but that it stood behind the quality and purity of its store brand supplements. The company said it tested all of its products ‘using validated and widely used testing methods.’”

For a complete copy of the findings, check out the NYT. And if your looking for something more in your supps than veggie powder, do your research and stick with trusted brand names.

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