Thursday, May 26, 2011

Melatonin in Brownies

Melatonin, a hormone and over-the-counter dietary supplement that supposedly promotes sleep and was once popular as a cure for jet lag, is now being sold in baked goods as an all-natural antidote to stress and sleep deprivation. But there’s a catch; since melatonin has not been approved as a food additive, the entire baked good containing melatonin has to be marketed as a “dietary supplement”. Indeed, the makers actually label them (in small print) “not for food use”.

Really? Products with names like Mary J’s relaxation brownies and Lulla Pies are not meant as food? Calling them dietary supplements is just an obvious way around the legal requirement that food additives must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA may not allow the sale of these products to continue in the long run, but the fact is that it generally takes a long time for the FDA to act. In the meantime you can buy these products at your local store. Just don’t plan on driving or operating heavy machinery after eating (uh, taking) this “dietary supplement”.

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