The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) has introduced a new certification mark for dietary supplements, already visible on some products on the market, the organisation said this week.
The DSVP mark, which comes from the Dietary Supplement Verification Program launched last year, signifies that the supplement has passed testing by the USP. It is designed to guarantee safety and quality standards for consumers of supplements.
John T. Fowler, chief operating officer at USP, said: "By selecting a supplement with USP's DSVP certification mark, consumers will have greater confidence in the products they purchase."
Launched in November 2001, the Dietary Supplement Verification Program checks that supplements contain the declared ingredients on the product label, meet requirements for limits on potential contaminants and comply with FDA standards for good manufacturing practices (GMPs). Compliance with the USP standards is however voluntary and not enforced by the FDA.
USP also added that the certification mark makes no claims to verify health benefits or other nutritional support claims made on product labels.
Dietary supplements, including vitamins, nutritional supplements and sports nutrition products, are consumed by about 151 million Americans who spend around $17 billion annually.
Several supplement manufacturers have already submitted products to be tested and verified, and supplements with the DSVP certification mark are beginning to appear on store shelves.
USP is a non-government organization that also sets standards for the ingredients and the processes for producing pharmaceuticals and health care technologies. It is funded by contributions from the pharmacy, medicine, and other healthcare professions, as well as science, academia, government and consumer organizations.