May 04, 2005
Do You Know What's In Your Pills?
A national blitz by federal food inspectors has found that 71 per cent of nutritional supplements and meal replacements tested did not comply with Canadian regulations. The violations included improper labelling, non-permitted ingredients and non-compliance with rules governing the composition of these products.
"This is a true representation of the mainstream marketplace, as all meal replacements and nutrition supplements at these retail outlets were looked at," the report said. It recommended the CFIA conduct more retail blitzes and also "consider going to gymnasiums where concern for compliance with regulatory requirements may be lower."
The inspection and tests are part of an ongoing effort by the CFIA to crack down on the sports nutrition industry, which has been booming. Sales of supplements and weight-loss drinks in the United States jumped by 50 per cent in the past three years to $15.7-billion (U.S.), according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Similar figures are not available for Canada, but the industry is believed to generate about $1-billion (Canadian) in sales annually.
Molly Killingbeck, a former world-class sprinter who now coaches young runners, said she refuses to recommend any supplements to her athletes. "There is so much out there and because it's not regulated you don't know what they are getting," said Ms. Killingbeck, who is manager of athlete services at the Canadian Sport Centre - Ontario. "These companies who are making these products, they pop up overnight and they fold just as quickly."
Bob Hindley, a power lifter in Vancouver, said he welcomes the CFIA blitz and hopes the government will do more to control these products. Mr. Hindley, 47, spends about $200 a month on supplements and they make up about 15 per cent of his diet. He said for many younger athletes, supplements can make up almost half their diet.
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