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DNA Barcoding Not An Industry Or FDA Accepted Test For Herbal Extracts


Jarrow Formulas States New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Using an Invalid Test Method -- to Set off a Media Firestorm, and Causing 30 Meritless Class Action Lawsuits – Should Cost Him His Job and State Bar Discipline

LOS ANGELES –March 4, 2015 — Jarrow Formulas®, a formulator and supplier of nutritional supplements, strongly condemns New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s cease-and-desist notifications sent to four large retailers (on February 3), and aimed at all herbal supplements.  After issuing actual cease and desist demands without going to court or allowing the targeted companies to respond, the AG went to the press for nationwide headlines that turned out to be histrionic and irresponsible showmanship.

"The New York Attorney General not only failed to do his homework and rushed to a premature and false conclusion," says Jarrow L. Rogovin, Founder and President of Jarrow Formulas, Inc., "but he persisted after his office was informed that the test method he relied on was inappropriate. Herbal extraction methods do not typically extract DNA, so it should not be the basis for such a high-profile and detrimental action, not a legal one, and certainly not by a law enforcement agency violating its authority to begin with."

Herbal supplement experts and the FDA all agree that the appropriate testing standard for herbal extracts is typically based on highly technical thin layer, liquid and gas chromatographies, and other tests and standards, as recommended by American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), European Pharmacopoeia (EP), and United States Pharmacopeia (USP), and NIH.  "DNA testing seldom is able to properly identify chemically complex herbal extracts as little or no DNA is extracted in many commercial extraction processes," says Mark Blumenthal, the highly respected founder and president of the American Botanical Council.  Indeed, even two vocal supplement critics—Pieter Cohen, M.D. of Harvard, and Ted Cooperman of ConsumerLabs.com—stated that the DNA barcode testing is not reliable for herbal extracts.

"The widespread and damaging media coverage of this politically driven and reckless action along with the overwhelming number of class action lawsuits necessitates a swift and unambiguous retraction by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and his resignation followed by state bar disciplinary action," asserts Mr. Rogovin.  "It’s not only the original false information that justifies professional discipline.  It’s that he doubled down when he knew he was wrong; and that constitutes abuse of power and malice."

According to Jarrow Formulas, there is a larger problem here:  a political agenda in this improper testing and rush to judgment. The NY AG wanted to provide support for two politicians in his state – NY State Senator Ken La Valle and NY Assemblyman Felix Ortiz – who each had introduced an anti-supplement bill to impose far more strenuous requirements on the industry in the form of a dietary supplement food safety committee.  Predictably, both Ortiz and La Valle praised Schneiderman’s actions as supporting the supposed need for their proposed legislation.

Having failed to justify his campaign of trade defamation and causing large financial losses, the NY AG had the audacity to suddenly claim that any response (or even providing the test results and data) would be "inappropriate" due to his "ongoing investigation."  The AG then pivoted to … Structure/Function Claims:  Within a week of the four cease and desist letters, the AG’s office had already subpoenaed from the four retailers their evidence for all label “health claims”—beyond what the FDA now requires.  If at first you don’t succeed, bully and threaten again.

The NY AG is not the FDA, and federal pre-emption certainly applies here.  FDA regulations already require under Section 6 of DSHEA that all labelers submit signed Notification forms verifying that their files contain adequate scientific support for all Structure/Function claims. Thus, any state AG’s jurisdiction on this procedure is highly questionable, but his subpoena is clearly the revenge of an overzealous and now thwarted elected official.

It is likely this AG’s intentions do not end there. Schneiderman and his ilk undoubtedly seek the coup-de-grace:  Pre-approval for any formula and its rationale, but at the same time, prohibiting any claims. Only then will the industry be "regulated" and then these “advocates” will be satisfied.  But the supplement industry will also virtually no longer exist, which has been the goal all along.

The NY AG’s virtual co-conspirator in this abuse of power has been the NY Times, particularly their writer Anahad O’Connor.

Indeed, O’Connor has failed to report the defects in the AG’s claims; rather, O’Connor maintains his anti-supplement industry blather in lockstep with the AG’s office. Unfortunately, the unprofessional and unethical shenanigans of such reporting are shielded regarding any information about contacts between the reporter and the "source." Nevertheless, AG Schneiderman and New York Times reporter speak from echo chambers. These types of "collaborative" public statements need no direct contact; however, can there really be any serious question whether there has been contact between O’Connor and Schneiderman’s office, perhaps the Executive Deputy AG in charge of the matter, Martin J. Mack? Why would not one of them call the other for a "chat"–and likely more than once.  After soliciting a comment from the American Botanical Council, O’Connor made no mention of ABC’s response.  Jarrow Formulas has written a protest against Mr. O’Connor’s tactics with the NY Times’ Public Editor, in effect, its ombudsman.  As Mr. O’Connor is so blatantly biased and unprofessional, there is no reason in our view why he should not be barred by the paper from reporting on the supplement industry.

To read Jarrow Formulas’ full statement describing the NY AG’s unethical conduct and politically motivated overreaching, click here: goo.gl/x1VbdW


Jarrow Formulas is based in Los Angeles, California, and is a formulator and supplier of superior nutritional supplements.  The company was founded in 1977 and today it markets its products in the United States and throughout the world.  Jarrow Formulas' goal is to promote optimal health based on sound scientific research data.  The company’s extensive product line includes vitamins, minerals, probiotics, coenzyme Q10, standardized herbal concentrates, amino acids, enzymes, specialty oils, phospholipids and other nutritional ingredients.  Together with its sister company (and main manufacturer), Jarrow Industries, Inc., Jarrow Formulas employs 240 people.  www.jarrow.com.


Rory Lipsky, Senior Director of Business Strategy, Jarrow Formulas

(310)  204-6939



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.