Administration highlights supplement ingredients that might otherwise be missed

Blowup

The global dietary supplement industry is growing. But is it growing up?

According to some sources, the industry is sitting on a total market value of $124.8 billion, which is nothing to sneeze at. But projections indicate that the sector is going to balloon up to $210 billion during the next seven years.

This expected growth promises a flood of new products, new ingredients and new product claims. And regulators are already hopping to keep up with the industry.

Minding the gap

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is feeling the heat, and has developed a novel response: the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List, which sits here on the FDA website. What’s the gist?

The tool is intended “to quickly alert the public when [the FDA] becomes aware of ingredients that appear to be unlawfully marketed in dietary supplements.” The FDA will make “preliminary evaluations” of new ingredients and place them on the list if it feels the ingredient may be unlawfully included in supplements.

The key here is “may”: Ingredients on the list are not necessarily unsafe and may be removed from the list at some point.

The takeaway

Why all the caution? “As the dietary supplement marketplace has grown, the introduction of new ingredients often raises complex questions involving science, policy, and the law,” the administration writes in a related press release. “In the time it takes the FDA to make a final determination, consumers and industry might mistakenly conclude that a lack of action by the FDA indicates that these ingredients are lawful.” The list is intended to get information to the public quickly and let manufacturers know that their ingredients are under review so that they can respond with more information.

The list is part of the administration’s recent ramp-up of its dietary supplement regulation regime, which it detailed back in February, and which it intends to expand with public meetings scheduled for May.