Misleading claims on vitamin pills

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The Independent Online
Manufacturers of vitamin and diet supplements are breaking the law by claiming their products can prevent, cure or treat disease, the Food Commission says.

A survey of 314 vitamin and diet supplements found 60 carried overtly medicinal claims for their health benefits on labels, in leaflets or in press releases.

Examples include Propolis, made by Neuner's Herbal Products , which is claimed to be "effective in treating hardening of the arteries, hypertension and coronary heart disease".

A Japanese mushroom extract made by Solgar Vitamins is said to have been "successfully used for the treatment of high blood pressure, cancer, immune disease and liver disorders."

It is against the law to make such claims unless the product is licensed as a pharmaceutical drug. The Food Commission, the independent consumer watchdog, says a series of tests cases are needed to clarify the law, combined with tougher regulations.