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WHITE PLAINS, NY — May 7, 2001 —, an independent evaluator of dietary supplements and nutrition products, today released results of its Product Review of echinacea supplements. Echinacea is widely used as a short-term immune system stimulant to reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu. Annual sales of echinacea products in the U.S were estimated at $193 million in 1999, according to The Hartman Group, a market research company, although sales are believed to have dropped recently. Twenty-five echinacea products were purchased for evaluation of their echinacea content and potential microbial contamination. Neither the FDA nor any other federal or state agency routinely tests echinacea products, or other supplements, for quality prior to sale.

Eleven, or 44%, of the twenty-five echinacea products did not pass's review. Six products did not provide sufficient label information to identify the amount, species, or plant parts used (all of such information is required labeling by the FDA) and were dropped from further testing; four products had insufficient levels of specific marker compounds that would be expected from their claimed echinacea ingredients (including two products with no detectable levels); and one product exceeded the World Health Organization limit for microbial contamination.

"Too many echinacea products don't say enough on their labels or don't contain what their labels claim," commented Tod Cooperman, M.D.,'s President. "These are important consumer issues and may be a factor in the declining sales of echinacea and other herbal products," he added.

The complete list of products that passed the review as well as ConsumerTips™ on buying and using echinacea are now available to's online subscribers at General findings and examples of approved products are also available for free from the Web site. Similar information is available from from its Product Reviews of Asian and American ginseng, calcium, chondroitin, CoQ10, creatine, ginkgo biloba, glucosamine, multivitamins/multiminerals, SAM-e, saw palmetto, St. John's wort, and vitamins C and E. Other Product Reviews scheduled for release this year include soy/red clover isoflavones, valerian, MSM, omega-3-fatty acids and protein/energy bars.'s Buyer's Guide to Supplements is to be published in print later this year. To further assist consumers, licenses its flask-shaped CL Seal of Approved Quality (see The CL Seal) to manufacturers for use on products that have passed its evaluations. is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and headquartered in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership from or interest in companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. Subscription to's Product Reviews is available online. Parties interested in purchasing comprehensive Product Review Technical Reports, licensing content, or requesting testing of additional products may contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at

Copyright, LLC, 2001. All rights reserved.

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