"We know that some manufacturers are better than others,'' Robert Brackett, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, told reporters today. "As we implement this rule, this will give us an even better idea of how they're doing.'' Under the new rules, the companies must also establish written procedures and keep production records for at least a year. If they don't, their products could get yanked.
The FDA insists the new regs create the practices needed to "ensure quality throughout the manufacturing, packaging, labeling, and storing of dietary supplements. The final rule includes requirements for establishing quality control procedures, designing and constructing manufacturing plants, and testing ingredients and the finished product. It also includes requirements for recordkeeping and handling consumer product complaints."
"This raises the bar so that all have to comply," Steve Mister, who heads the Council for Responsible Nutrition trade group, told the Associated Press.
But not everyone is convinced this will work. "The FDA has no authority to require testing for safety or efficacy of any dietary supplement," says Public Citizen's Sid Wolfe, in a statement. "We saw with the ephedra-related deaths the dangers that dietary supplements pose. Congress should address this enormous deficiency in the law."
In any event, the rules don't start kicking in for another couple of years. So don't get too excited yet.