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Biting the hand that feeds you

Tuesday's Washington Post featured yet another article out of the Associated Press slamming the dietary supplement industry for producing unsafe, unsanitary products. The frequency with which this type of story has appeared over the past six or eight weeks is somewhat disconcerting and has me wondering if there is a coordinated campaign underway to damage the public's perception of the supplement industry. I am concerned that this may be in advance of some effort to undermine the industry to set up a legislative attack in Congress. Individuals who subscribe to publications that print stories like the one in the Post should respond with a letter to the editor objecting to the mischaracterizations of the industry as irresponsible and unregulated.

This particular article also contained what seem to be the almost obligatory comments from Tod Cooperman and Bill Obermeyer of slamming the industry for lack of quality control and providing fodder for stories of supplements filled with heavy metals and other toxins. As usual, the principals of suggest that their observations can be generalized to the supplement industry as a whole, since their business model requires them to scare consumers into paying for their test results. (It takes this money even though likes to portray itself as a "public interest" group).

Since the business model also requires it to take money from the industry it "polices" (interesting that the "watchdog" takes money from the people it purports to watch—unlike organizations like Consumer Union), these comments are akin to a dog biting the hand that feeds it. What is even more puzzling to me is that hand keeps feeding the dog despite being repeatedly bitten.

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