ConsumerLab.com

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ConsumerLab.com
Type Private
Industry Book Publisher (NAICS code 51130)[1]
Founded 1999 (1999)
Headquarters White Plains, NY, United States
Key people

Tod Cooperman, M.D. (President)
Mark Anderson, Ph.D. (VP of Research)

Lisa K. Sabin (VP of Business Development)
Services Publisher of test results and guides for dietary supplement, brand licensing and advertising.
Website www.consumerlab.com

ConsumerLab.com, LLC. is a privately held American company registered in White Plains, NY. It is a publisher of test results on health, wellness, and nutrition products.[1][2] Its mission is "to identify the best quality health and nutrition products through independent testing."[3]

ConsumerLab.com was founded in 1999. It purchases supplement products on the open market for testing and publishes a report on them with reports obtained on sample products it submits to third party laboratories for testing. It primarily derives revenue from the sale of subscriptions to its online publications. Other sources of revenue include a proprietary certification program, licensing fees, contents re-publication license fees and advertising.[3]

History[edit]

ConsumerLab.com was founded by Tod Cooperman in 1999.

Personnel[edit]

In March 2006, ConsumerLab.com founder and president, Tod Cooperman, appeared in a hearing before the House of Representatives' Committee on Government Reform on the Regulation of Dietary Supplements. [4] In May 2010, he issued a panel statement on "Dietary Supplements: What Seniors Need To Know" hearing at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.[5][6][7] William Obermeyer helped found ConsumerLab.com and served as V.P. for Research until 2012. Obermeyer worked as a Natural Products Chemist testing dietary supplements within the CDER at the FDA for nine years prior to joining ConsumerLab.com in 1999. Obermeyer now serves as an advisor to ConsumerLab.com.[8] The current V.P. for research is Mark L. Anderson, a pharmacologist/toxicologist who was previously Director of Research and Development at Triarco Industries.[3][9]

Products and services[edit]

ConsumerLab.com reports that its main revenue comes from sales of online subscriptions. Other revenue-generating products include books and survey reports[10] and the sale of licenses to publish its proprietary information.[3] Tests are not conducted by ConsumerLab.com but are contracted out to independent laboratories. A 2000 New York Times article reports that one of the laboratories is Alpha Chemical and Biomedical Laboratories in Petaluma, CA.[11] Products to be tested are purchased from retail stores or online retailers, or through catalogs or multi-level marketing companies. Products are not accepted from manufacturers, and are retested every few years.[12] A 2004 JMLA review noted that "approximately half of the [laboratory test results] reports indicate the date the review was posted".[12] For a fee, ConsumerLab.com offers a voluntary certification program. Products that pass the certification can use the "CL Seal of Approval" for which there is a licensing fee.[3][12] Vendors of brand name products named in its reports can, for an advertising fee, be listed in a "Where to Buy" section which is clearly marked as advertising.[12]

Controversies[edit]

In January 2005 the Council for Responsible Nutrition, which describes itself as a "trade association representing dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers",[13] registered a complaint against ConsumerLab.com with the Federal Trade Commission. It alleged that the "entire business model" of ConsumerLab.com "represents an egregious form of consumer fraud and deception". CRN requested the FTC to impose actions against ConsumerLab, requiring them to disclose all test results as well as the identities of the labs that perform its tests, and change its company name to avoid implying that it does its own testing.[14] In March 2005, FTC deferred the case, noting that it was not taking any actions at the time.[15] ConsumerLab.com filed a suit against CRN alleging eight causes of action that CRN's publication of its complaint letter to FTC was defamation, infliction of intentional harm and six other causes. In May 2006, the New York Supreme Court dismissed this suit for failure to state a claim for all but the defamation allegation.[16] Natural Foods Merchandiser reports that the dispute was eventually settled and dismissed.[17]

Dietary supplement testing[edit]

In the United States, the government does not test supplements; the law leaves it up to the manufacturers to be accurate and truthful. Consumers have a hard time finding reliable information on these products and ConsumerLab.com attempts to fill these needs.[12] ConsumerLab.com narrates its contractors' testing methods and quality criteria/standards used to test supplements.[3]

Notable findings[edit]

In 2008, ConsumerLab.com submitted 12 red yeast rice product samples to a third party testing lab. Red yeast rice contains a compound called lovastatin. The study finds that 12 samples sent for testing had a per-capsule lovastatin level of: mean 2.54mg, median 2.12mg with a standard deviation of 2.60mg and a range of 0.10mg to 10.01mg. The major limitation of this study is that it does not account for batch-to-batch variation as only one batch per sample was tested.[18]

In 2011, a ConsumerLab.com study found that two of three coconut water products, commonly promoted for hydration and electrolyte balance, contained less sodium and magnesium than was claimed on the label.[19][20][21]

In 2012, a ConsumerLab.com study on 5-hour Energy drink reported that the sample it sent for testing contained about 207 mg of caffeine.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b HighBeam Business
  2. ^ Give Us This Day Our Daily Supplements New York Times, 4 March 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "About ConsumerLab.com". Consumerlab.com. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Regulation of Dietary Supplements: A Review of Consumer Safeguards" (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office. 9 March 2006. p. 184. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  5. ^ hearing detail
  6. ^ "Kohl Calls For Better Labeling, Reduction of Contaminents in Dietary Supplements". United States Senate Special Committee On Aging. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Testimony of Tod Cooperman, MD, President, ConsumerLab.com to Senate Special Committee on Aging - Subcommittee on Dietary Supplements" (PDF). Tod Cooperman. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  8. ^ William Obermeyer 2007 Annual Meeting & Exposition, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.
  9. ^ Mark Anderson, Ph.D LinkedIn. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  10. ^ Anetor, John I (2005). "ConsumerLab.com's "Guide to Buying Vitamins & Supplements: What's Really in the Bottle?". Journal of the National Medical Association 97 (2): 304–305. PMC 2568756. 
  11. ^ HEMPHILL, CLARA (June 20, 2000). "Putting Dietary Supplements to the Test". New York Times. Retrieved 2 January 2013. ConsumerLab.com of White Plains, is testing various products for quality and potency at independent laboratories across the country, including Alpha Chemical 
  12. ^ a b c d e Glassman, Nancy (2004). "Electronic resource review: Consumerlab.com". Journal of the Medical Library Association 92 (4): 509–510. PMC 521528. 
  13. ^ About CRN Council for Responsible Nutrition website. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  14. ^ Nutraceuticals World
  15. ^ FTC
  16. ^ "Civil Action No. 06-1590 (RMC)". US Government Printing Office. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  17. ^ Laurie, Budgar. "ConsumerLab, CRN call legal truce". Natural Foods Merchandiser. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  18. ^ Gordon, Ram Y; Cooperman, Tod.,Obermeyer, William.,Becker, David J. (2010). "Marked Variability of Monacolin Levels in Commercial Red Yeast Rice Products". Arch Intern Med 170 (19): 1722–1727. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.382. PMID 20975018. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  19. ^ O'Connor, Anahad (8 August 2011). "Really? The Claim: For Better Hydration, Drink Coconut Water". New York Times. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  20. ^ "ConsumerLab.com Tests Coconut Water Brands, Menopause Supplements". Nutraceuticals World. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  21. ^ Esterl, Mike (11 February 2012). "The Beverage Wars Move to Coconuts". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  22. ^ Hudson, William (16 November 2012). "FDA investigates deaths preliminarily linked to energy shots". CNN. Retrieved 12 December 2012.