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GNC’s CEO Mike Archbold says industry “should embrace, not fear, novel testing methods.”
Retailer GNC says the dietary supplement industry should welcome, not shun, the opportunity to use emerging test methods like DNA testing to bolster quality assurance. GNC’s statement follows last week’s news that the retailer has reached an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (NY AG) in the course of the NY AG’s probe of GNC’s products and those of other dietary supplement retailers and manufacturers.
Industry members, as well as some scientists and DNA testing experts, have criticized the NY AG’s use of DNA testing on finished botanical extracts in his investigation, claiming that DNA testing is an inappropriate method for analyzing extract-form products. In its agreement with the NY AG, GNC agreed to further integrate DNA testing in its own quality-assurance process-an action largely criticized by the dietary supplements industry. In return, the NY AG agreed to cease its investigation of the GNC products.
In an open letter distributed today, GNC’s CEO, Mike Archbold, says, “As an industry, we should embrace, not fear, novel testing methods that provide additional opportunities to build customer trust.”
Archbold’s letter explains why the company chose to form an agreement with the NY AG. He states that a “protracted battle” with the NY AG would have been “counterproductive,” adding that the agreement underscores the purity, safety, and quality of the company’s investigated products and the fact that the NY AG’s investigation found no evidence that the GNC products do not meet FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) regulations.
As for GNC’s plans to adopt DNA testing, Archbold assures that while DNA testing will not replace the company’s existing test methodologies, adding the method will instead complement the company’s “robust” quality-assurance tools.
Archbold also mentions the promise that DNA testing may one day hold for the supplements industry. “DNA barcode testing may someday play a role in the identity testing of some source materials earlier in the production process. This will not in any way affect product quality for GNC’s products, but will provide even greater assurance of plant identity prior to extraction, which may help avoid the rejection of extracts later in the testing process.”
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