Citizens' Watch

Dietary supplements now require a label of ingredients

| July/August 1999

  • New seals on labels will ensure quality

In the coming years, consumers will have a new tool for determining the quality of dietary supplements—and it will be right on the label. The National Nutritional Foods Association, an industry trade group, is introducing a new quality assurance program that will guarantee the product was manufactured safely from start to finish.

The National Nutritional Foods As­sociation (NNFA) developed the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Cert­ification Program based on dialogs with ­natural ­products manufacturers, suppliers, trade ­associations, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Launched in July of this year to be fully implemented in three years, the program provides independent, third-party verification that supplement manufacturers maintain safety and quality standards. After meeting the program’s ­criteria, a company acquires the right to use the NNFA GMP Certification Seal on its products.

“The NNFA GMP Certification Program is one of the most important initiatives in the dietary supplement field today,” says Logan Chamberlain, Ph.D., publisher of Herbs for Health and a member of NNFA’s education committee. “The public must have a simple and sure way to identify products that have been manufactured to specified quality standards.”

Citizens For Health, a consumer advocacy organization for natural health issues, also supports the program.

“NNFA’s GMP Certification Program is an important step toward increasing the public’s confidence,” says Susan Haeger, Citizens For Health president. “The general public places a lot of trust in the quality and safety of the natural products they purchase every day. It’s essential to ensure that their trust is not misplaced.”

In 1994, Citizens For Health was instrumental in the natural health community’s fight to secure the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, legislation that granted the industry the right to include health-relevant information on product labels. The congressional ruling also required the publication of good manufacturing practices specific to dietary supplements, but the FDA has not yet published these standards.

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