Working with New Hope Natural Media (’s parent company), the FDA issued an e-mail alert on Oct. 7 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 provided a list of items that retailers and distributors should watch for on food and supplement products, including label claims.

In this document, FDA stated that products within the sexual enhancement, weight-loss, bodybuilding and diabetes categories warranted further investigation on the part of retailers and distributors. The agency also advised 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 wrote in its alert.

As Israelsen sees it, more of such education and outreach is needed for all groups touched by the spiking issue.