Collaborating on consumer education was another item discussed between the supplement trade associations and FDA. One piece of this is ensuring the media and consumers understand that products adulterated with sibutramine, steroids and other illegal substances are not dietary supplements—they are adulterated and misbranded drugs, Israelsen said.

Manufacturers, suppliers retailers, media and consumers also need more guidance on how to spot potentially adulterated products—and then sound the alarm, Israelsen added. “My view is that a very aggressive collective effort by all of the trade organizations is necessary to quickly inform and update our retailers, manufacturers and suppliers.”

As part of this effort, UNPA plans to issue a guidance document for manufacturers and suppliers on the analytical methods required to identify adulterated or contaminated ingredients and other areas of supply chain protection. Said Israelsen: “No company can safely assume that they are not involved in this problem until they have truly qualified their supply chain.”