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Old 05-31-2010, 03:58 PM   #1
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Mysterious origin of probiotic products?

I have contacted three different large probiotic companies (probably all in a refrigerator in a health food store near you), and all three have refused to reveal exactly where the probiotic products that they "distribute" are actually made. I get something like "we do not normally give out that information", or at most I get "from Canada" - wow, that really narrows it down, eh? Could be from a sawmill in the Yukon Territory!

So when I press for more specific information - like the name of the actual maker of the ingredients - I get something like: "I'm sorry, but we cannot disclose any further details on the source of this product. Do you have any other questions about our fine products?" Grrrrr!!!

Hey! This is something I'm putting inside my body to live in my gut! Why am I not entitled to know exactly where it comes from or who actually makes it?

Plus I'm an anxiety sufferer! Not knowing where the bacteria I'm eating come from stresses me out.

'Crin

Last edited by Vocrinthedes; 05-31-2010 at 04:15 PM.

 
Old 06-01-2010, 08:42 AM   #2
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Re: Mysterious origin of probiotic products?

I never thought about this but I would think the cultures are made in their factory. Like Kefir--it is cultured milk, right?
Here is another thought--what about EVERYTHING else we purchase and consume--where does it come from? Everything down to the packaging. As of late, I have noticed beef labeled from Mexico. What about other meats and veggies? Occasionally you will see country of origin on fruits--Chilean grapes and such.
I think our food supply is utter garbage for the most part and am finding it harder and harder not to go completely organic, grow it myself, or make it myself.

 
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:55 AM   #3
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Re: Mysterious origin of probiotic products?

do you contact the manufacturer/distributor of every product you eat?
what was the answer you were looking for......what answer would have been the "right" one as far as you're concerned? I'm just trying to understand what you were looking for.....
I wouldn't even think to contact them and ask where it came from......
if it was fda approved, that would be good enough for me.

 
Old 06-01-2010, 10:06 AM   #4
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Re: Mysterious origin of probiotic products?

I don't think the FDA inspects supplements. That's why a supplement cannot make a specific claim to treat a certain thing. If it claims to treat something, then it falls under the drug category and FDA gets to do it's thing.

I think it's a legit question to want to know the source of something. Personally, I feel if they won't tell you then I wouldn't take their product. I buy my products from a reputable local health food store and the owner is very knowledgeable about everything he sells, including the origins.

 
Old 06-01-2010, 10:12 AM   #5
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Re: Mysterious origin of probiotic products?

Vocrinthedes

Today, more and more ingredients come from China. And I have seen such things a garlic and salmon from China. No thanks! I will pass on anything from China. But I think it's true that you won't always know and supplement processors don't want you to know, if they think it will hurt business. And who's to say that it doesn't go from China to Canada and then to the U.S.?

I wonder what quality control is like where they make the probiotics. Do workers in these places wash their hands after visiting the bathroom? Is the workplace highly sanitized? Deadly forms of bacteria can be found everywhere from nursing homes to hospitals to the soil in our yards and gardens. The only reason it doesn't do most of us in is because our immune systems are healthy. Those who have compromised immune systems are the ones who need to be very careful.

When you think about it, almost verything in our world has bacteria on it. People have house pets. When we go to a restaurant, we handle things that have been toutched by others and we all have bacteria on our hands. When we buy fresh produce in the supermarket it has bacteria on it.

If someone takes probiotics and gets sick, would they ever think to question the quality of the product? Probably not. But I wouldn't worry too much because our world is full of bacteria anyway.

This leads to the following question: If our world is so full of bacteria, why do we need to be taking bacteria supplements?

 
Old 06-01-2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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Re: Mysterious origin of probiotic products?

Thanks, everyone, for your responses.

To address some of your comments:
  1. Yes, our food supply is becoming utter garbage, even dangerous garbage.

    About 4 years ago, I bought some well-wrapped frozen shrimp (I am not allergic to shrimp) with a well-known brand name on it at a major national store...but after cooking it well and eating it, I got a hot, numb face and extremities (had no feeling in my lips, nose, fingers, toes), and later a belly ache and diarrhea, and ran a fever. My neighbor said that it sounded like "red tide syndrome" - food poisoning from eating seafood taken from the water when there's a "bloom" of toxic algae - but this is something reputable fisheries would never do. On inspecting the package, it said "Product of China". I went to the doctor, who said I had signs of neurotoxicity and treated me for food poisoning.

    This experience (as well as the news starting in 2007 of toxic petfood, seafood, and children toys) is what sensitized me (no pun intended) to paying closer attention to the origins of my food.

  2. Yes, organic probiotics and vitamins are unfortunately not FDA inspected. I was alarmed to see on these probiotic companies' websites - the ones who would not reveal the source of their ingredients - that they have branch offices in China and they state that they have a number of ingredient sources "all over the world".

  3. The "satisfactory" answer that I was looking for was something like "we produce the ingredients right here in our factory" or "it is made by So-and-So Labs in Orem, Utah" or something like that.

    But their creepy answers, like "We're sorry, sir. We cannot disclose the origin of our ingredients to customers", freak me out. "Well, I'm sorry, too. I cannot spend my money on your questionable product," I say.

  4. EagleRiverDee, thank you. Exactly my feelings. Trouble is my local health food store has people who are surprised that "Made in..." and "Produced by..." and "Distributed by..." are NOT the same thing!!! If we don't see "Made in..." on the label, that product could come from ANYWHERE!

    "Produced by..." can mean "put in pill form here with ingredients from a 3rd-world country", and "Distributed by..." means that that company doesn't have any part in the manufacture of the product they sell.

  5. John, you have expressed my thoughts exactly about quality control, about routing Chinese-produced ingredients through a supplier in Canada, etc.

    I know this to be a strong possibility because I recently contacted a very well-known brand of concentrated garlic pills (which I was taking for garlic's known benefits regarding immunity, cholesterol, etc.), and they actually told me that although they made the pills in the USA, their garlic powder ingredient came from China, and said (and I quote): "It is organic as far as we know, but we don't have any details about its actual processing." I am thankful for their unbelievable candor, as I will never buy that product again, but such nonchalance about a supplement source is reprehensible to me.

  6. John, yes, there are zillions of different types of bacteria everywhere - some essential to life and health, some beneficial, some inconsequential, some damaging, and some deadly.

    I am taking probiotics on the advice of my doctor because I had to take a round of strong antibiotics to get rid of bacterial bronchitis, and the antibiotics wiped out a lot of my intestinal flora bacteria (the essential ones that actually digest our food, eat bad bacteria, and prevent yeast infections), leaving me with a lot of gas, bloating, indigestion, and an increased fungal growth in my gut (which was determined by a lab test for d-arabinitol, a candida yeast by-product).

    Research indicates that our good intestinal bacteria (flora) play a considerable role in our immune response.

  7. Good news!!! While writing this, I called my doctor's office and found out that my doctor has his own probiotics custom-made, and he and everybody on his staff take it. He and his staff are never sick. The receptionist said he doesn't "push" the product for professional reasons, but I can buy it "if I want to"! Are they kidding?? I'm getting in the car right now....

Thanks again, everybody. I love this forum! May we all continue to educate and support each other in staying healthy!

'Crin

Last edited by Vocrinthedes; 06-02-2010 at 10:03 AM. Reason: improved accuracy

 
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