Pepper mills, antibiotics, and the FDA

In the US, we mostly take the purity of our food and drugs for granted. I think the exception proves the rule: many people are surprised that dietary supplements, including herbal supplements, are regulated differently than drugs, under an “assumption of safety”. Essentially, you can put whatever you want in there, and the FDA will only investigate your supplement if they have a particular reason to. This means that many dietary supplements contain real drugs. In 2015, an NBA player was discovered unconscious in a brothel, and the subsequent investigation revealed that one of the “herbal”, “Viagra-like” supplements he was taking were just actual Viagra masquerading as an herb.

• • •