The Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Bill (S. 510) will bolster safety and quality in the US dietary supplements industry, according to leading trade group the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).
Steve Mister, the president and CEO of the Washington DC-based organization said the Bill that has won bipartisan Congressional support from the likes of Richard Durbin, Judd Gregg and Tom Harkin would strengthen other measures such as recently introduced GMP/AER rules.
The Bill has been stalled for most of the year but is set to be voted on by a joint sitting of the Senate and House and is expected to be passed as pressure to increase food safety measures has grown in the wake of food scares such as the recent peanut scare and salmonella egg incident.
“To date, this legislation represents what may be the best opportunity to lead a national, if not global, agreement on food-borne illness protection,” Mister wrote in a congratulatory letter to Durbin and Gregg. “The legislation will require annual registration of food manufacturing facilities [including dietary supplement manufacturing facilities].”
“It will also give FDA new authority to mandate food recalls and require companies to develop food safety plans to address high risk junctures in manufacturing where avoidable contamination might occur.”
Likelihood of passage
But Mister also emphasized that the imposition of regulations such as the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Adverse Event Reporting (AER) had gone a long way to providing similar measures specific to the dietary supplements industry.
“Over the past few years, new regulations and laws, including the release of the GMPs … have brought renewed focus to maintaining consumer confidence in the quality of dietary supplements.”
Most dietary supplement manufacturers were required to meet the laws, and the biggest, which entered the system first, had already passed inspections.
AERs had helped, “post-marketing safety surveillance of dietary supplements”.
“CRN believes these and other laws and regulations help give consumers more confidence in the dietary supplement products that they are using.”
ÍCRN hopes that adding our support to the many voices calling for enactment of reasonable food safety legislation will increase the likelihood of passage and implementation of improved food safety laws.”
CRN, along with the Natural Products Association (NPA) and the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus (DSC), held a briefing yesterday on Capitol Hill, where Nutrition Business Journal’s publisher and editorial director Patrick Rae discussed dietary supplements industry issues, including regulation and safety.
“The supplement industry is one of the more highly regulated industries. A lot of the companies are rallying behind the GMP regulations,” he said. “They want it to be known that they are a GMP-compliant company. And, the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act [DSHEA] made claims rules clear and has really helped the industry focus and develop.”
Rae said highlighted the role of dietary supplements in the prevention of disease. “Prevention is the new mantra among consumers. Consumers looked at supplements as one way through the recession to help take care of themselves. Health is recession resilient, and the sales over time support this fact.”
Rea confronted industry myths that included:
- dietary supplements are unnecessary because people get what they need from food
- that people really do not want to take supplements
- that the pharmaceutical industry will destroy the dietary supplement industry
- that the industry is unregulated
“Our numbers show that somewhere between 60-80 percent of Americans take supplements, and 48 percent of them consider themselves regular users,” he said.
Rae also highlighted the growing acceptance of dietary supplements among the healthcare profession.