FDA in the Spotlight


My previous post discussed the harmful/or not so harmful effects of heating up food in the microwave using plastic containers.  Although the post does not have a direct connection to this current post, both discussed the Food and Drug Administration.  However, this instance seems to hinder the credibility of the FDA and its influence on dietary supplements.


The USA Today article states, "For the second time in recent weeks, scientists have found a "non-natural" amphetamine-like compound in dietary supplements - yet federal regulators have issued no warnings to consumers about the ingredient."  The non-natural amphetamine- like compound that they are talking about is known as acacia rigidula.  The compound is found in a bushy like plant in Texas and New Mexico, however, "the FDA scientists reported they couldn't find the substance in verified samples of the plant."  In addition, the compound has never been tested for safety on humans.


I struggled to find a lot of information on the compound acacia rigidula because of the fact above, the compound has never been tested for human safety.  The article also goes into depth about dietary supplement companies using harmful compounds in their products.  For instance, the FDA recently seized $2 million from the company Hi-Tech for their use of a harmful compound known as DMAA.  In addition, the Federal Trade Commission is seeking to send the president of Hi-Tech back to prison for his use of false advertising years ago. 


All of this is a lot to handle, however I think that it should have a great impact on the science community for the safety of dietary supplement users.  Many individuals are now seeking to lose weight by taking supplements that ultimately speed up their metabolic rate and decrease their hunger.  However, if it is found that acacia rigidula is said to have harmful effects on humans the FDA will be under great fire.  The FDA should take immediate action on testing the unknown compound (obviously with correct controls and experimental values)  because numerous producers are using it in their products.  The FDA should not allow companies to use an unknown substance for the sole protection of the consumer.


We often discuss in class how science affects us, and this is a prime example.  However, it does not seem that it is grasping much attention.  That is truly something to think about when discussion scientific matters: why do they not grasp attention?  It will be interesting to see the outcome of tests done by the FDA on acacia rigidula.  If it is found to be harmful, many companies will ultimately face federal repercussions.

1.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/18/fda-scientists-find-amphetamine-   like-compound-in-dietary-supplements/3627963/              

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