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WASHINGTON — The companies that make dietary supplements like vitamins and herbs have quietly introduced thousands and thousands of new ingredients without telling the government, despite federal law requiring the disclosure.

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act requires dietary supplement makers to notify the Food and Drug Administration whenever they introduce a “new dietary ingredient” into the market. The FDA doesn’t have approval authority like it does for traditional medicines, but the agency is supposed to get some idea of what a supplement maker is selling and why the company thinks the ingredient is safe.

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