Natural Foods Merchandiser


Heavy metal doesn?t rock
The Dec. 25 Journal of the American Medical Association featured an article concluding that one out of five Ayurvedic herbal medicine products produced in South Asia and marketed in Boston-area ethnic stores contains ?potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury and/or arsenic.? The authors deduced that users of Ayurvedic treatments may be at risk for toxicity and called for mandatory testing of Ayurvedic products for heavy metals.

?The authors? call for reform of federal law is apparently being made without the knowledge that [the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act] already has provisions for heightened [good manufacturing practices] for dietary supplements. [The Food and Drug Administration] is expected to publish final rules for GMPs imminently? says Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council. ?In addition, the importation and/or sale of herbal products containing heavy metals is illegal under existing FDA laws.?

P.K. Davé, president of Ayurvedic supplement producer Nature?s Formulary, said, ?People are thinking it?s all Ayurvedic products [that contain heavy metals].? He encouraged retailers to assure their customers that the risky products represent only a tiny percentage of the Ayurvedic market and were not designed to be sold in the United States.

—Hilary Oliver

Focus on women
Looking to target your store more directly at the majority of your shoppers? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released the Women?s Health and Mortality Chartbook. Statistics include breast cancer, mammogram and prenatal care rates, as well as facts about suicide, health insurance coverage and whether women are eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Retailers in Texas, Alaska and Michigan may want to focus on weight loss products as those states rank high in obese women, while retailers in Vermont and Nevada—states with low obesity rates—may want to focus on hangover cures. Women there are in the top level of binge drinking rates.

Find the info at wh/statab/chartbook.htm.

Sex does sell
Viagra flew off the prescription pads. Many of your tonic supplements double as sexual enhancers. The self-proclaimed medicine hunter, Chris Kilham, has a new book. Do the math, and the numbers add up to a big, big market.

Hot Plants: Nature?s Proven Sex Boosters for Men and Women (St. Martin?s Griffin, 2004) contains Kilham?s travels ?from the ancient rain forests of Malaysia to remote mountains in Siberia, the Amazon rain forest and the high plains of Peru? in search of, well, hot plants. And hot sellers.


Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 2/p. 32

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