In your June 25 editorial, “Building on Kessler’s Legacy,” you suggest that the next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration “push hard for authority to monitor the exploding use of dietary supplements--vitamins and herbs whose safety and effectiveness are largely unregulated.” Dietary supplements are regulated and the FDA already has the requisite regulatory authority to ensure consumers of their safety.
Among FDA’s enforcement powers granted with the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 are its ability to: stop the sale of an entire class of dietary supplements if it poses an imminent public health hazard; seize dietary supplements that pose a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury; and stop a new dietary ingredient from being marketed if FDA does not receive enough safety data in advance.
Instead of promulgating new laws concerning regulation of these products, the next FDA commissioner should hold the agency accountable for its continued failure to enforce existing ones.
MICHAEL Q. FORD
National Nutritional Foods Assn.