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

Calls for increased vigilance among consumers, retailers, and marketers of dietary supplements

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:

Washington, D.C. (November 18, 2005)—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 preventative, cure or treatment for avian flu, and
  • 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 health care 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.

Contacts: CHPA - Elizabeth Assey (202) 429-9260
CRN - Judy Blatman (202) 204-7962
NNFA - Tracy Taylor (202) 223-0101

American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Michael McGuffin, President
Founded in 1983, AHPA is the recognized leader in representing the responsible center of the botanical trade, and is comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products. AHPA’s mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. Website:

Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), Linda Suydam, D.P.A., President
CHPA is the 124-year-old national trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplement products.

Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Steven Mister, Esq., President & CEO
CRN has represented key manufacturers of dietary supplement ingredients and products for over 30 years, providing its member companies with regulatory guidance, scientific information on the benefits and safety of dietary supplements, public relations expertise, and legislative support.

National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), David Seckman, Executive Director and CEO
NNFA was founded in 1936 and represents the interests of some 8,000 retailers, manufacturers, and distributors of natural products, including health foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.