Pursuant to its letter agreement with GNC, which was signed last Friday and announced earlier this week, the Office of the Attorney General will discontinue its investigation of GNC’s Herbal Plus private brand products for a period of three years. GNC will implement initiatives to protect consumers, including:
- Establishing authentication standards within 18 months that utilize DNA bar coding technology for GNC private brand herbal supplements;
- Requiring its suppliers to implement randomized allergen testing protocols for common allergens (such as milk, eggs, tree nuts and shellfish);
- Displaying prominent signs in GNC stores that explain the difference between whole herbs and extracts;
- Adding its DNA bar codes and scientific bar coding methods to a publicly accessible database within two years; and
- Filing a semi-annual report with the New York Attorney General detailing its compliance with the foregoing heightened procedures.
The New York AG has called the agreement the first of its kind in the nation to require testing standards for herbal supplements that exceed current FDA requirements.
It remains to be seen how this agreement will impact the other retailers and products being investigated.