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Consulting firm Ingredient Identity expands capabilities with new divisions

By Hank Schultz , 01-Apr-2014

A key new hire has enabled consulting firm Ingredient Identity to signficantly ramp up its capabilities. In line with that development, the company has formed four new divisions to better present the new capabilities to its customers, said Jim Lassiter, the firm’s president and COO.

The new hire, whose name Lassiter said is still under wraps, brings new formulation expertise to the firm, something that the company has not offered in the past. In the past the company, which is based in Laguna Beach, CA, has restricted itself more to matters of quality and regulatory compliance.

“In the past our motto used to be: We do everything except get our hands dirty,” Lassiter told NutraIngredients-USA. “Now we are going to get our hands dirty.”

“If a company is having a challenge with a formulation we now have the ability to help them refine the formulation and make sure it contains the things they want it to contain,” he said.

New divisions

The company’s new divisions are the Regulatory Guidance Services group that offers high-level regulatory consulting, strategic planning and quality program guidance; the Quality Development Services team that handles GMP auditing and vendor qualification; the Labeling Review Services team that makes sure label and website language complies with relevant laws; and the Brand Reputation Services team that can guide a customer through crisis management and post-event recovery planning for customers that are facing class action lawsuits, FTC actions, FDA Warning Letters or Consent Decrees and even criminal charges.

These last two teams might trend over it work a law firm might do for a client, and Lassiter freely admits that his firm’s services don’t equate to legal advice. But Lassiter said using his firm’s services might mean a more cost effective solution when a firm does consult an attorney, as the labels and procedures will be compliant in the first place, making less work for a high-priced law firm to do.

“We don’t have attorneys on staff and we are clear that we don’t operate as attorney,” he said. “What we do do is tell customers, here is what the regulations say, here’s what your product claims it does and here is where the challenges might arise.” 

Paperwork reduction

Firms in the dietary supplement realm often complain that meeting FDA requirements means generating ever greater amounts of documents, which are costly to produce and manage and don’t do anything except prove that a company is doing what it is supposed to be doing. Ingredient Identity’s CEO Brandon Griffin says the company is sensitive to those concerns, and has worked to offer solutions that can streamline the process. The company offers a wide range of tailored Standard Operating Procedures that firms can use to streamline their compliance efforts.

“We are highly conscious of not disrupting our clients daily operations by burying them in excessive procedures, which is why our Quality Program Optimization service is crucial to saving mid-to-large cap companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and in some cases millions each year,” Griffin said. “While a client may already be GMP compliant, often we walk in and find inefficiencies that are very costly from a production revenue perspective.”

In addition to the new hire mentioned above, Ingredient Identity said it plans to hire new staff this year to build out the company’s new divisions.  It’s part of an effort to meet rapidly growing demand for regulatory compliance services, help with New Dietary Ingredient notifications and so forth. The message of spending money up front rather than trying to clean up after receiving a warning letter from FDA seems to be getting through.

“We have been on a solid annual growth trend of nearly 700% in gross revenue, so our approach is working,” Griffin said.

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