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Contamination
January 1999

Food, drugs, and dietary supplements all have the potential of becoming contaminated. Some foods (e.g., poultry, soft cheese, meat, and fish) are particularly vulnerable.

Contamination of dietary supplements is extremely rare. Only one major outbreak ever occurred in the United States. In 1989, a contaminant was introduced into a batch of tryptophan supplements imported from Japan. This led to an outbreak of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) which killed 40 Americans; an additional 1,000 were afflicted.

While this was a significant tragedy, such incidents are extremely rare when compared to other consumables. On average, fewer than two people die every year from contamination of dietary supplements. This is statistically insignificant when compared to food contamination which kills thousands of Americans every year.

 

   
 

Read more about:

Toxicity, allergies, interactions, and contraindications

Safety concerns for specific dietary supplements

Contamination

Sources of contamination

Adverse events

Adverse events tracking and reporting systems

Industry initiatives to track adverse events

Safety Guidelines

Cautions & potential hazards

Ephedra safety guidelines

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(c) Copyright 1999-2003 Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative. For permission to reprint, please contact our editor.