UL debuts verification seal for dietary supplements

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

UL debuts verification seal for dietary supplements

Related tags: Dietary supplement

With the NYAG investigation cloud hanging over the industry, longtime safety certifier UL has hit on a fortuitous time to debut its new dietary supplement verification program.  The label seal launches today at at the Ingredients Marketplace trade show in Orlando, FL.

The potential demand for verification of supplement safety and quality has never been higher, said Michael O’Hara, general manager of global nutraceuticals for UL.  The actions of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has shined an unwelcome, national spotlight on the industry, once again calling into question in mainstream media stories whether the regulation of the industry is stringent enough to keep substandard products off the market.  Responsible companies are looking for a way to differentiate themselves, O’Hara said.

UL brand recognition

But other certifications are on the market. For example, NSF certifies production facilities, and USP offers a certification for dietary supplement finished products.  Is there room in the market for additional certifications?

O’Hara said that UL’s broad recognition with consumers would resonate in the supplements marketplace.  Some of UL’s trust built up in other market sectors would provide a halo of quality in this new sphere.

“We think we’ve got very strong brand recognition with 100 plus years of being a performance and safety verification organization,” ​O’Hara told NutraIngredients-USA. “When we put our mark on the product we show that we stand behind the product and we believe in the organization that is displaying the seal.”

“When we did our market research, we found that the penetration of those competing programs is not very deep and when we talked with consumers we found there was not a lot of recognition of those programs.  Our research showed that a UL Verified Mark would be welcomed by the dietary supplements industry,”​ he said.

The new seal is the top level of a tiered certification program, based on a set of guidelines the organization brands as its UL ClearView. At the top level of verification, which confers the permission to use the seal on finished products, UL conducts surveillance testing on a biannual basis of the covered finished products, O’Hara said. The company also reviews a client’s GMP compliance, does a label review and looks into the client’s product release testing protocols to make sure they are up to snuff.

“From a best practice perspective, an approach that drives transparency into industry quality assurance programs can help increase consumer knowledge, drive brand awareness and loyalty, and support bottom-line improvements,”​ said Sajeev Jesudas, president of UL’s consumer business unit.

UL recently teamed with the Natural Products Association to offer GMP audits of dietary supplement manufacturing facilities and to partner in a series of education sessions for industry.

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Posted by Tony Qiu,

The certification system sets only minimum requirements and standards to be compliance with for the industry. In fact, when you have the certificate from supplier it is only a paper and won't mean you would be having peace of mind. Without securing system in economy, it is too weak and mostly risky to business development if you rely on such a certificate paper. The bond-tie relationship is more reliable than what is called traceable system through documentation......the industry will be pushed with the case like NYAG to be changed....,.

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It's a bit unfortunate that...

Posted by Brandon Griffin,

...the FDA actually doesn't and won't recognize this or any other third-party certifications whether for products, ingredients or even facilities for that matter as "sufficient" to demonstrate GMP compliance. Compliance is a daily effort for all companies in the space to adhere to with regard to their operating model. I'm not questioning or even doubting the quality of work being done by such entities, it is quite often good work in fact, we know this first hand, but rather just questioning what this is meant to represent in the industry and especially to consumers. Is it really different than any of the others? In all fairness, this is a tad misleading to consumers...I can easily point out a number of companies that don't have any seals or third-party GMP certs and that actually are more compliant and committed to quality than some others that do. What does it all mean? Sometimes a piece of paper or seal, well, is just that and nothing more. This is one of those times. More to follow...

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Posted by BP,

Please - by all means, UL, publish that market research (otherwise it's just marketing babble and potentially for you, libelous). Would LOVE to see how NSF has failed to penetrate the market from an industry perspective.

And partnering with an industry trade group (NPA) to provide that same industry with certification of its products? That's a pretty textbook definition of conflict of interest... UL expects to have credibility in the marketplace given that? Seriously?

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