The objective of this study was to analyze labeling practices and compliance with regulatory standards for shark cartilage supplements sold in the United States. The product labels of 29 commercial shark cartilage supplements were assessed for compliance with U.S. regulations. Claims, including nutrient content, prohibited disease, and nutritional support statements, were examined for compliance and substantiation. Overall, 48.3% of the samples had at least one instance of noncompliance with labeling regulations. The most common labeling violations observed were: missing a domestic address/phone number, non-compliant nutrient content claim, missing/incomplete disclaimer, missing statement of identity, prohibited disease claims, and incomplete "Supplement Facts" label. The use of prohibited disease claims and nutritional support statements without the required disclaimer is concerning from a public health standpoint because consumers may delay seeking professional treatment for a disease. The results of this study indicate a need for improved labeling compliance among shark cartilage supplements.
Keywords: dietary supplements; labeling compliance; nutritional support statements; prohibited disease claims; shark cartilage; structure/function claims.
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