Report says lab results found no evidence of aloe vera in products from Walmart, CVS and Target

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Aloe vera green gel transparent bottle/File image

How much aloe vera is in products that list it as one of the main ingredients?

None at all for some products, according to a new study from Bloomberg News. Bloomberg analyzed aloe gel products from Walmart, Target and CVS. Those products all had one thing in common: tests showed none of them contained aloe vera even though it was listed as the first or second ingredient on each product.

4 Fast Facts

  • Tests show aloe vera products from CVS, Target and Walmart contain no aloe vera
  • Lab results show products missing three chemical markers indicating presence of ingredient
  • Aloe vera listed as first or second ingredient in the products
  • The retailers and their suppliers disputed the results and said they stood by their products

The store-branded gels lacked the three chemical markers signifying the presence of aloe vera, according to the lab report commissioned by Bloomberg.

Most people buy aloe products in hopes of soothing burned or damaged skin.

The findings reignite a debate about who should regulate such products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t approve cosmetics before they’re sold and suppliers more or less operate on the “honor system.” The U.S. market for aloe products has grown 11 percent in the last year, according to Chicago-based market research firm SPINS LLC.

According to lab results, samples from Walmart, CVS and Target contained maltodextrin, a sugar used as a filler in aloe vera products. Aloe gel from Walgreens contained one chemical marker for aloe but not the other two, meaning the presence of aloe couldn’t be confirmed or ruled out in that product.

According to Bloomberg, Target declined to comment on the lab results. Spokesmen for Walmart, CVS and Walgreens told Bloomberg that their suppliers informed them that the products were authentic.

Fruit of the Earth, a Texas-based brand, made the gels for Walmart, Target and Walgreens. The company identified its aloe supplier as Florida-based Concentrated Aloe Corp. Both companies disputed the results of Bloomberg’s tests and said nuclear magnetic resonance testing used on the gels can be unreliable for cosmetic products.

The company that produced CVS’ aloe gel, Florida-based Product Quest Manufacturing LLC, declined to comment on the findings or identify its supplier.

Bloomberg had the following products tested:

  • Wal-Mart’s Equate Aloe After Sun Gel with pure aloe vera
  • Target’s Up & Up Aloe Vera Gel with pure aloe vera
  • CVS Aftersun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel
  • Walgreens Alcohol Free Aloe Vera Body Gel
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