Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have re-introduced legislation that seeks to help consumers distinguish between dietary supplements that are safe and those that have potentially serious side-effects or drug interactions. The “Dietary Supplement Labeling Act,” would require dietary supplement manufacturers to disclose known ingredient risks and display mandatory warnings if a product contains an ingredient that could cause potentially serious adverse events. Labels would also have to include the batch number to help identify and recall contaminated products. Among other things, the bill would (i) allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to track how many dietary supplements are on the market and what ingredients they contain; (ii) give FDA authority to require that manufacturers provide proof for any potential health benefit claims; and (iii) direct FDA to clarify the distinction between dietary supplements and food and beverage products with additives.

“Though many dietary supplements available today are safe, we can’t ignore the growing evidence that there are some in the industry that are taking advantage of the system we have in place to make money selling products they know are harmful,” said Durbin. “Regulation of supplements can be improved to protect public health and it starts with making more information available to consumers and the FDA. The bill [provides] common sense steps to make sure supplement risks are printed on the label, products are registered with FDA and manufacturers can back up their big claims.” See Sen. Dick Durbin News Release, August 1, 2013.