Statement by David Seckman, Executive Director and CEO, Natural Products Association
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 14, 2007 — In response to the “Mitchell report,” released yesterday regarding the illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances in Major League Baseball, the Natural Products Association, the oldest and largest trade association representing retailers and manufacturers of dietary supplements and other natural products industry, issued the following statement:
“The Mitchell report lends substantiation and credibility to what we have been saying for a long time: Dietary supplements have been a convenient and often unquestioned scapegoat to hide illegal steroid use.
“The idea that athletes were unwittingly ingesting steroids in the dietary supplements they innocently purchased at a health food store has been exposed as the ridiculous notion it always was. The fact that the performance-enhancing substances purchased in the report needed to be obtained surreptitiously by a third party, typically at a high cost, should have been evidence enough to an athlete that the product was likely to be illegal. Clearly, calling such products ‘dietary supplements’ was an attempt to gain legitimacy and mask their real contents.
“As to solutions, we agree with the report’s proposal that educating athletes about the dangers of performance-enhancing substances be combined with education on how the same results can be achieved through proper nutrition and training, including the use of dietary supplements. Without question dietary supplements can provide elite athletes with the added nutrition and support they need to advance their careers, not jeopardize them.
“And just as the Mitchell report named athletes who were allegedly involved in use of illegal steroids, when an athlete or testing organization claims a dietary supplement is adulterated with illegal substances, the product brand and manufacturer must be named. The excuse athletes often use by blaming a dietary supplement that they refuse to identify cannot continue to be given credence. If there are truly bad players and products in the marketplace, they need to be exposed and punished to the full extent of the law.
“Dietary supplements are safe, and Americans should be confident that they are. But when products don’t contain what’s on their labels – or contain something that isn’t – it demands immediate attention. Consumers, government, and industry need to know who is breaking the rules so we can protect public health.”
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The Natural Products Association is the nation’s largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. The association represents more than 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids.