Industry Coalition Advises Against Use of Dietary Supplements as Remedy for Avian Flu

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The trade associations of the dietary supplement industry -- the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), and the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA)today issued the following statement:

In light of increased media attention surrounding the threat of an avian flu epidemic, a coalition representing the dietary supplement industry reaffirmed its commitment to the responsible sale and use of health-promoting vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements, and encouraged consumers to use caution should they encounter products which claim to treat or prevent the avian flu. The dietary supplement industry is keenly aware of public concern regarding avian flu and of the desire of the public to protect itself against this recent health epidemic, which can cause serious illness and, ultimately,

death. We do not believe any dietary supplements have been specifically shown to prevent or treat avian flu. While federal law and regulations do not allow any dietary supplement product to claim to treat or prevent avian flu, we are issuing the following unified advisory for marketers and retailers, as well as for consumers of dietary supplements:

-- Marketers and retailers of dietary supplements are urged to refuse to stock or sell any products that are presented as preventing, treating or curing avian flu

-- Marketers and retailers should refrain from promoting any dietary supplement as a preventive, cure or treatment for avian flu

-- Anyone who believes they may have avian flu or may have come in contact with it should immediately contact a healthcare professional.

Millions of Americans value dietary supplements because they can enhance

general immune function and disease resistance. However, therapies for the

prevention or treatment of avian flu should only be recommended by qualified

healthcare professionals or public health authorities. The organizations supporting this advisory represent the majority of dietary supplement manufacturers. Each of the associations and its member companies remain committed to providing the American public with high quality self-care products. However, each of the associations also recognizes that consumers need to be educated and aware of health conditions which require the care of a healthcare professional. The potential for a global outbreak of avian flu is such a condition, and people who believe they may have contracted avian flu should consult qualified healthcare professionals for treatment.

Source: American Herbal Products Association; Consumer Healthcare Products

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