The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of protecting the public's health by correctly labeling and ensuring the safety of human and animal drugs, cosmetics and the U.S. food supply.
It's true that certain supplements do not need FDA approval before manufacturers can send them to the shelves of grocery and health stores. However, if there is a new dietary ingredient that hasn't been made available yet, that product will have to be tested to ensure it's safe to the public.
What about the FDA's role in regulating natural products?
Claiming that a product is natural can be very tricky. "Natural" is defined as existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. In today's food chain, it's almost impossible to have food or drugs in a natural form. It is very likely that the product has been processed or developed by manufacturing companies and does not come directly from the earth.
Unfortunately, the FDA has not accurately come up with a proper definition of the term "natural product" but is still allowing the word "natural" to be labeled on these products and sold in stores.
What can you do to ensure your own health and safety while buying and consuming natural products?
ALWAYS read the labels. If there is an ingredient in a product that is very hard to pronounce or seems out of place, it probably is. If you're unsure about a product, don't be afraid to call the manufacturing company to get the facts straight.
The Everyday juicer, Ray Doustdar, gives his personal insight from when he created a natural product and the role the FDA plays in the process.