June 21, 2004
ConsumerLab.coms Multivitamin Test Raises Questions WASHINGTONThe Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) in mid-May responded to a report issued by ConsumerLab.com about testing it conducted on multivitamin supplements. ConsumerLab.coms release noted multivitamins/multiminerals are among those supplements most likely to have quality problems, and said one-third of the products (13 out of 40 total) failed its tests. CRN (www.crnusa.org) noted of the products tested, the 15 products made by CRN member companies all passed. The association criticized the criteria used by ConsumerLab.com in its analysis. For example, some products failed the test because of low folic acid levels, while another failed because the folic acid was too high. Folic acid is a highly unstable nutrient and the daily recommended intake is small, CRN stated. The only way to ensure adequate levels of this nutrient is to include more than the labeled amount at the time of manufacture to guarantee that every tablet will have at least the labeled amount and to compensate for degradation over time. CRN further took ConsumerLab.com to task for its extremely negative press release that called attention only to the failures without giving appropriate recognition to the products that passed the tests. One company that didnt pass ConsumerLabs tests also took the company to task. According to ConsumerLab.com, Gummy Vites from Northwest Natural Products (NNP) contained lead in amounts greater than those allowed by Californias Prop 65. Kate Jones, president of NNP, issued a public statement alleging ConsumerLab.coms results are suspect, and even if the levels of lead were accurate, the levels were still well below federal guidelines. In addition, Jones attacked ConsumerLab.coms business practices. ConsumerLab.com positions itself as an independent consumer watchdog group, she said. But, in fact, it is a for-profit company that is in the business of selling its seal of approval for a fee. Jones said prior to the reports release, NNP paid ConsumerLab.com $6,500 to conduct new tests on Gummy Vites, but did not have the results as of a week after the reports release. In a response, ConsumerLab.com said NNP was conducting a libelous and deceptive public relations campaign and noted it is considering legal action against NNP.
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