Flushing health shop owner sued for making and selling adulterated dietary supplements

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A Flushing supplement shop owner is in hot water for allegedly making and selling poor quality dietary supplements.

The complaint states that Helen Chian and Jim Chao, president and manager of Confidence USA Inc., allegedly make and distribute more than adulterated 50 dietary supplements under brand names that include Confidence USA, American Best, USA Natural and The Herbal Store.

Officials say that Chian also owns The Herbal Store, located at 42-35 Main St., Unit 1C in Flushing, where they sell the products in question.

“Millions of Americans take dietary supplements and trust that these products are safe,” stated U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue of the Eastern District of New York. “This office is committed to protecting those consumers and holding dietary supplement manufacturers and distributors to current safety standards. Today’s filing demonstrates that we will take action to enforce those standards and keep the public safe.”

The complaint seeks to file a permanent injunction against Chian and Chao that would keep them from marketing dietary supplements without following current good manufacturing practices. During multiple inspections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Chian and Chao allegedly failed to verify the identity of each dietary ingredient used in the manufacture of their supplements, as well as whether or not their products met specifications for purity, strength, composition and contamination limits.

“Dietary supplement makers put consumers’ health at risk by distributing products without first verifying that those products actually are what they claim to be,” stated Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with the FDA to make sure that dietary supplement manufacturers meet the legal standards necessary to ensure the quality of such products.”

According to the complaint, the FDA previously issued a warning letter to Confidence USA in 2011 regarding deficiencies at the company. United States Marshals had also seized certain Confidence USA products in connection with a 2012 complaint alleging that the products were adulterated.

Dietary supplements that are not prepared, packed and held in conformance with current good manufacturing practices are adulterated in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

“Ensuring product integrity is a priority for the FDA,” stated Melinda Plaisier, associate commissioner for regulatory affairs at the Food and Drug Administration. “Consumers should be able to expect that the dietary supplements they purchase meet quality standards and contain only what they are supposed to, in the correct amounts. The FDA will continue to take swift action against companies that sell adulterated dietary supplements.”

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