Addressing members gathered for the conference in Palm Springs, CA, at the weekend, Chuck Brice, chairman of CRN's board of directors and senior VP with Kemin said: "It's a simple value proposition - bringing a product to the marketplace means bringing quality and value to the consumer."
In the past, the industry has come under fire from regulators, legislators and the media, who have seized on any instance of substandard products or practice and tended to tar everyone operating in the sector with the same mistrustful brush.
The 1994 Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act has been instrumental in building its reputation, but even so, more than a decade after it became law it has yet to be fully implemented. For example, the good manufacturing practice (GMP) guidelines that form a part of it remain in draft form. It has been hoped, but without any certainty, that the final version may be forthcoming before the year is out.
The dithering over GMPs has left DSHEA open to criticism, but the CRN has always leap to its defense. In an interview with NutraIngredients-USA.com in February John Hathcock, VP for scientific and international affairs, said that DSHEA will be sufficient in ensuring the safety and quality of supplements when properly enforced.
In any case, the CRN claims that the vast majority of its members already have manufacturing practices as good as or better than the FDA will require.
"If you can't afford to make good products, you shouldn't be making products at all," said Hathcock, adding that one company that fails to comply gives the entire industry a bad name.
His sentiment was echoed by Brice: "If we want DSHEA to work for us, we need to make it work."
More than just talking about the quality of their products and the science behind formulations, Brice maintains that companies need to translate that into action.
As well as ensuring they adhere to the highest manufacturing standards, that may also involve carrying out solid scientific research to ensure their products are both effective and safe, and marketing products in an honest and forthright manner consistent with FTC requirements.
"We believe that our products provide numerous benefits to society, from providing a smart choice for supplementing other healthful lifestyle choices to potential healthcare cost savings. Our challenge is to demonstrate that to the audiences we care about, including the people who buy our products."