GRMA nears completion of national standards for supplier audits

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / olm26250
© Getty Images / olm26250
The Global Retailer and Manufacturer Alliance (GRMA) is in the final stages of completing a comprehensive set of consensus-based standards for dietary supplements, OTC pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and medical devices.

The standards are a unified set of criteria that will be available to retailers for the auditing and inspection of suppliers and manufacturers vendors.

The goal is to achieve a harmonized audit approach across multiple product categories, said GRMA in a press release. These standards, based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), will reduce the number and associated costs of audits, while strengthening safety, quality and trust throughout the supply chain.

Mike Finamore, CEO, of Gemini Pharmaceuticals, who has been selected as inaugural President of the GRMA Governance Board, said: “It is an honor to be part of such a unique group that is truly dedicated to improvements throughout the supply chain of products found on the retailers’ shelves.

“This process will serve to consolidate audits and inspections across a broad array of products under an ANSI-accredited standard to ensure only the highest quality of products are available to consumer.”

The GRMA Governance Board includes members from across industry, including Gemini Pharmaceuticals, Costco, Wegmans Food Markets, HEB Grocery Company, United Exchange Corp, and First Quality.

Costco’s Christine Summers is the inaugural VP of the Governance Board. “From the beginning, I have been most impressed about the voice that retailers and the public have had in this process, as we now have a standardized, comprehensive audit standard based both on regulations and on best-practices to reaffirm our quality commitment to our customers,”​ said Summers.

Raising the quality bar

GRMA​ is a store-brand industry initiative driven by retailers, manufacturers, trade associations, certification bodies, academia, government agencies and other stakeholders seeking to improve quality, safety and regulatory compliance to ultimately benefit the customer. The alliance currently includes over 30 major retailers in the grocery, drug, mass merchandiser and club store channels, representing US-based and international operations.

Manufacturers of dietary supplements must comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (CFR 111), while retailers may also have a number of additional requirements for manufacturers, which can lead to variety of standards. The GRMA aims to “tie” all these additional auditing requirements into one industry audit.

NSF International is facilitating the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards development process on behalf of the GRMA.

The GRMA program manager for NSF International is Casey Coy. “It has been a rewarding effort to work with each of the retailers, manufacturers, regulators, certification bodies and other stakeholders to address and improve the current third-party auditing environment. With the development of the consensus standards using the ANSI standards development process and the formation of the GRMA, the bar of quality has been raised and will allow for a more streamlined avenue of vendor qualification,”​ said Coy.  

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