The organization held a Board meeting immediately following a Town Hall meeting at its annual conference, and approved in concept a Voluntary Product Registry for Dietary Supplements. The next step is to further investigate various options for establishing the product registry from both existing databases (such as the ODS database and Underwriters Laboratories’ Clearview program) and the possibility of creating a new platform.
“This could be a relatively quick process if we find we can work with an existing database,” Steve Mister, CRN’s President and CEO, told us.
The next stage in the process is for the CRN staff to present a these different models at the organization’s board meeting in December, said Mister.
“The primary goal of a voluntary product registry for dietary supplements would be to give the regulators more visibility so they can see which products are out there, who is marketing them, the content of their labels, the ingredients they’re using, and so on,” said Mister.
“We want consumer to also be able to see this but that’s not the primary target,” he added. “For consumers, there would need to be a significant marketing and education effort and we’re not there yet.
“I would urge industry stakeholders to call us,” said Mister. “We want to hear from all members of the industry. I hope that I would allay any anxieties they may have. This is the type of basic information that many companies are already providing to retailers, and we’re not asking companies to do anything burdensome. This would put it all in one place so that the regulators can search it.”
CRN convened a Product Transparency Working Group to provide a framework for the product information that would be included in this registry.
“The Board’s decision to move CRN toward an industry-directed product database of dietary supplements follows nearly a year of discussions and investigations by the Board into a viable system of providing more visibility for regulators into the size of the industry and basic information about products,” said Mister.
During his president’s address at CRN’s annual meeting in Palm Springs recently, Mister called on members to support the registry, saying there are moments that demand change: “If we ignore the signs, we risk becoming irrelevant. If we wait too long, we will get left behind. If we consider ourselves impervious, we may get blindsided by our vulnerabilities.”
Mister also acknowledged to The Conference’s attendees that some will say the system is unnecessary, while others will insist it doesn’t go far enough to ensure quality, but called on CRN’s membership to ‘do now what we have consensus to do now and keep working on refining the rest’.
“I firmly believe CRN is uniquely positioned to lead the industry toward developing measures to improve quality and build consumer trust,” he said. “And this database of product information is the first step in that process.”
Mister said that CRN alerted the other trade associations prior to the conference because it wants to cast as broad net with this. [Scott Melville from CHPA and Michael McGuffin from AHPA were present at The Conference.]
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