is a privately held American company registered in White Plains, NY
. It is a publisher of test results on health, wellness, and nutrition products. Give Us This Day Our Daily Supplements New York Times
, 4 March 2007. Its mission is "to identify the best quality health and nutrition products through independent testing."
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.
ConsumerLab.com was founded by Tod Cooperman in 1999.
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.
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. hearing detail
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. William Obermeyer
2007 Annual Meeting & Exposition, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. The current V.P. for research is Mark L. Anderson, a pharmacologist/toxicologist who was previously Director of Research and Development at Triarco Industries. Mark Anderson, Ph.D LinkedIn
. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
Products and services
ConsumerLab.com reports that its main revenue comes from sales of online subscriptions. Other revenue-generating products include books and survey reports and the sale of licenses to publish its proprietary information. 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
. 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. A 2004 JMLA review noted that "approximately half of the test results
reports indicate the date the review was posted". 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. 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.
Legal interactions with trade groups
In January 2005 the Council for Responsible Nutrition, which describes itself as a "trade association representing dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers", About CRN Council for Responsible Nutrition
website. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 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 asked 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. Nutraceuticals World
In March 2005, FTC deferred the case, noting that it was not taking any actions at the time. FTC
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. Natural Foods Merchandiser reports that the dispute was eventually settled and dismissed.
Dietary supplement testing
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. ConsumerLab.com narrates its contractors' testing methods
and quality criteria/standards used to test supplements.
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 2.54 mg, median 2.12 mg with a standard deviation
of 2.60 mg and a range of 0.10 mg to 10.01 mg. 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.
In 2011, a ConsumerLab.com study found that two of three coconut water
products, commonly promoted for hydration
balance, contained less sodium
than was claimed on the label.
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.