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AP / Elaine Thompson

Store-brand supplements at several major retailers did not contain the herbs they advertised or failed to list the ingredients they did contain, the New York attorney general said.

The state attorney general’s office called for Walmart, Walgreens, GNC, and Target to immediately stop selling a number of generic supplements, a move that followed DNA testing of a number of popular herbal remedies.

Overall, just 21% of the tested store-brand herbal supplements actually contained the plant material they advertised, the attorney general’s office said. The remaining 79% either didn’t contain the herb or included other materials that weren’t on the ingredients list.

“Mislabeling, contamination, and false advertising are illegal,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “They also pose unacceptable risks to New York families — especially those with allergies to hidden ingredients.”

GNC

*Authorities tested ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, ginseng, garlic, echinacea, and saw palmetto from the store’s Herbal Plus brand.
*Only garlic showed up consistently in the DNA test. Saw palmetto showed up in one of four bottles. The other supplements could not be found.
*In 22% of the tests, DNA matched ingredients listed on the label. In the rest, contaminants included asparagus, rice, primrose, alfalfa, spruce, ranuncula, allium, legume, saw palmetto, and echinacea.

Walmart

*Authorities tested ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, ginseng, garlic, echinacea, and saw palmetto from the Spring Valley brand.
*None of the supplements consistently showed the DNA of the ingredient they were supposed to contain.
*DNA tests matched the ingredient label only 4% of the time. Contaminants included allium, pine, wheat/grass, rice mustard, citrus and cassava.

Walgreens

*Authorities tested ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, ginseng, garlic, echinacea, and saw palmetto in the Finest Nutrition brand.
*Only saw palmetto consistently showed its labeled contents.
*DNA matched the labels’ ingredients 18% of the time, and contaminants included allium, rice, wheat, palm, and daisy.

Target

*Authorities tested ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, valerian root, garlic, echinacea, and saw palmetto from the store’s Up & Up brand.
*Ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, and valerian root did not show up consistently in the samples.
*DNA matched the labels’ ingredients 41% of the time, and contaminants included allium, French bean, asparagus, pea, wild carrot, and saw palmetto.

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