When you buy a bottle of vitamins, you expect that you are getting exactly what you are buying. If you buy echinacea, you get echinacea, right? This is not always the case. A number of retailers do not have the resources to manufacture the products they want to carry. This is where private labeling comes in.  Private label products are typically those manufactured by one company and sold under another company’s brand. There are many industries that private label, including food, health, cosmetics, etc.  If you Purchase “store brands”, you have likely purchased items that were private labeled from an unlisted source.  Often these private labeled products are made by the exact same companies that charge a higher price under their own famous label.  Private labeling helps them get rid of surplus products.  While this is a great resource for a large company that wants to be a one-stop-shop for its consumers, this is not always what is best for the customer – especially since we are not always getting what we think we are.  Apparently, many companies are not checking the contents of herbs and vitamins they have contracted to private label as their own brand,  according to an investigation conducted by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

There were five companies under investigation, 4 of which were found to have little or none of the label’s ingredients.  In some cases, they contained hidden ingredients and common allergens. These retailers are national chains that are probably in your area. Unsuspecting consumers may still continue to purchase these items.

The public demand for convenience yields pressure on large retailers to have everything under one roof.  In order to meet that demand, both large companies and small companies utilize private labeling.  In some cases, they can charge even more than other brands based on the assumed reputation of stores such as GNC or Walgreens. The supply fills the demand and everyone should be happy, right? Consider for a moment that these well known retailers utilize a source completely unknown to the consumer, to produce products that are only trusted because the consumer assumes that it is GNC’s product – consumers believe that Walgreens Pharmacy, or GNC, or others made the supplement or at the very least, carefully supervised the production to ensure that the contents will be as trustworthy as the label.  Is it not ironic that these retailers so completely trusted an unknown source, that by the results, were possibly chosen by being the cheapest?  If an unknown source from China that was producing more than it could sell as a new company, offered to sell that product under a label that advertises it as a GNC product, for example, why would they give GNC their best product when it will be sold in direct competition to their own product?  Maybe over the years the product sold to GNC by the unknown source became worse and worse in hopes that consumers would turn to their product, until one day the supplements sold had none of the active listed ingredients. Why would these large retailers buy products from their competitors and trust the product they received, then turn around and sell them as their own?  It reminds me of the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, where weavers make the emperor a new suit that they claim to be invisible to anyone not worthy of seeing it. Everyone is too fearful to say they cannot see the emperor’s clothes, until a child exposes the farce.

As consumers, we need to look at the bigger picture.  We need to look at who our favorite retailers are sourcing from and their credibility.  If we cannot trust the quality control of retailers we thought we could, I suggest we change our buying habits. We need to thoroughly research the brands we choose to buy, it is up to the consumer to demand quality.  Whenever possible, utilize original sources, such as actual herbs that you can see and taste.   

Dr. Moms guarantees all our products. We order all our herbs directly from the source. We do not use middle men to process and package our herbs. We order and inspect all herbs from organic sources. Most of our ingredients are fresh, organic herbs and vegetables that we use to create our teas, soups and other products. Our focus is providing quality, organic herbs to our customers so that we might all enjoy improved health.

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