By Karin Krisher
You’ve probably always wondered what makes a supplement worth your time and money. Those are understandable musings, given the wide range of materials and manufacturers that have, in recent years, jumped on the supplement bandwagon. But there are some hallmarks of the ideal supplement: Certifications.
Without certain supplement certifications and inspections, your supplement company is essentially unregulated. Because dietary supplements do not fall under either food or drug categorizations, they are not required to be approved for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration.
Still, the FDA does have some involvement in the supplement arena. For example, FoodScience has a relationship with the FDA: Our facilities are FDA inspected and audited on a regular basis. The FDA also keeps track of our label claims, to ensure we are not advertising to you, our customers, under false pretenses.
Despite the fact that the FDA does not directly regulate supplements, there are organizational bodies in place to deal with supplement regulation. The Natural Products Association, for example, allows members to obtain current Good Manufacturing Practice certifications and become a part of the TruLabel program.
As described on the NPA’s website, “the TruLabel Program is a dietary supplement label registration and random-testing….internal oversight program, designed to create a high level of confidence with retailers and consumers that products sold in the marketplace are accurately labeled; establish an ongoing self-regulatory process within the industry; demonstrate industry maturity to legislators; and provide a comprehensive industry product database.”
While TruLabel and NPA membership should build some confidence, GMP certification is also necessary to your assessment of quality when you are selecting a supplement. In June 2007, the FDA published dietary supplement specific GMP regulations.(21 CFR 111). The NPA has since adopted these standards in addition to those already in place. Third-party facility and documentation inspections are required to achieve cGMP certification—and FoodScience has it.
When you’re choosing supplements, don’t shy away from asking questions about certification. Your chosen company should be able to provide you with answers. For our part, FoodScience is proud to be cGMP certified, FDA and NPA third-party inspected, and a TruLabel program member; Ask away.