Will the new Consumer Protection Act prevent harm to nutritional supplement users?
Aim. To assess the regulations, legislation, and claims associated with nutritional supplement products in South Africa.
Method. Peer-reviewed literature and the relevant South African statutes were consulted.
Results. The National Health Act incorporates the Medicine Control Council, which is charged with ensuring the safety, quality and effectiveness of medicines, and related matters, including complementary/alternative medicines. The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport and Amendment Act provides for testing athletes for using banned substances, but currently does not concern itself with monitoring nutritional supplements for contaminants or adulterants that may cause a positive drug test, which has implications for sports participants and also the health of the general population. The implementation of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (CPA) could protect consumer rights if it is administered and resourced appropriately.
Conclusion. The CPA should promote greater levels of policy development, regulatory enforcement, and consumer education of South Africa’s supplement industry.
Gary Gabriels, University of Cape Town
Mike Lambert, University of Cape Town
Pete Smith, University of Cape Town
Donavon Hiss, University of the Western Cape
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Date published: 2011-07-25
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