In a release made by the USDA on September 5, 2013, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) outlined where its priorities lie in the next two fiscal years. This is not going to be a good time to be in the supplement business.
You can read the full document at http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CFSAN/WhatWeDo/ucm366279.htm.
The FDA has created a “stay out of jail” clause that allows supplement manufacturers to declare that they are not in the disease treatment or disease prevention businesses. The question of why anyone would take a supplement if it does not treat, cure or prevent an illness is unanswered. The official statement that is put on all dietary supplement labels is:
"This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease"
Copying directly from the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) Plan for Program Priorities, 2013-2014, Section 1.2 covers dietary supplements.
1.2—Improve safety and labeling of dietary supplements and the supply chain.
1.2.1: Modernize post-market surveillance system for regulating dietary supplements.
1.2.2: Develop and implement risk-based compliance and regulatory strategies to address dietary supplement safety issues.
1.2.3: Publish revised draft guidance on new dietary ingredients (NDIs) to increase pre-market oversight of dietary supplements.
1.2.4: Publish final guidance on new dietary ingredients (NDIs) to increase premarket oversight of dietary supplements.
1.2.5: Publish final guidance to help dietary supplement and beverage manufacturers and distributors determine whether a liquid food product (such as energy drinks) may be labeled and marketed as a dietary supplement.
This is an initiative that the big pharmaceutical manufacturers have been pushing through their lobbyists for years. While there may be benefits in getting standardized manufacturing and testing of dietary supplements, it is more likely that this will be a way to create barriers for the dietary supplement suppliers.
The established research done on drugs is largely paid for by the drug manufacturers. The same payment scheme is applied for measuring the toxicology of drugs and for food additives, pesticides and many chemicals. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an incestuous adventure with the top industry executives operating a revolving door in and out of the FDA.
More and more pressure will be brought to bear for dietary supplement manufacturers to conduct extensive testing to prove that their products work, and do so in a safe manner. The existing history that goes back as much as 5,000 years in the case of Ayurvedic medicine does not meet the double-blind standards of today.
The double-blind testing standard requirements are interesting in light of the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to advertise the adverse effects of a drug and thereby eliminate liability for the side effects. One of the more interesting examples of this is an anti-depressant drug may cause you to be suicidal, and the manufacturer is not liable under the "I told you so" statute.
It is suggested that you get in contact with Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Rob Portman and Congressman Steve Stivers to let them know that you want to maintain the ability to substitute dietary supplements for pharmaceutical drugs. This is a new phase of the war on supplements, and we had all better be vigilant.