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High hopes, limited regulation a dangerous formula for 'functional foods'

Journalists covering nutritional supplements and so-called functional foods should compare the marketing messages of manufacturers to the science behind those claims, said panelists at a Health Journalism 2010 session on the topic.

Consumers spend billions of dollars annually on supplements and functional foods, said Marilyn Marchione, medical writer for the Associated Press. Although such products face lower regulation than pharmaceuticals, many consumers seek "drug-level effects," she said.

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