Working with New Hope Natural Media (’s parent company), the FDA issued an e-mail alert on Oct. 14 titled, “Tainted Dietary Supplements and Foods: Responsibilities of Retailers and Distributors” (an updated version of this alert was sent on Oct. 29). In the document, the agency provides a list of items that retailers and distributors should watch for on food and supplement products, including label claims.

In this document, FDA states that products within the sexual enhancement, weight-loss, bodybuilding and diabetes categories warrant further investigation on the part of retailer and distributors. The agency also advises proactive investigation of products that:

· Claim to be an alternative to approved drug products or legal versions of anabolic steroids;

· Claim to provide immediate sexual enhancement effects;

· Offer directions and warnings that resemble FDA-approved drug products; or

· Say “May cause positive result in performance-enhancing drug test.”

“Firms that sell dietary supplement products play an integral role in preventing tainted supplements from harming consumers and have a legal responsibility to ensure that the products they sell are not tainted,” the FDA writes in its alert.

As the FDA notes in the alert, the agency is becoming more proactive in pursuing criminal convictions for sellers of tainted supplements. In 2010, VMG Global was convicted of a felony and fined for selling supplements laced with anabolic steroids. The FDA has also brought misdemeanor charges against several people for selling sexual enhancement supplements containing active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Read the full text of the release here.