Comment period opens on SSCI standards

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

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Getty Images
The new Supplement Safety and Compliance Initiative standards were formally unveiled by late last week at a meeting hosted by Walmart. The standards now go into a 30-day comment period.

The set of standards, known by its acronym SSCI, was driven by the needs of Walmart and GNC, among other stakeholders. The new general and technical benchmarking guidance documents were released today during a meeting at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, AR. SSCI is opening up a public comment period on these general and technical benchmarking guidance documents. 

Dan Fabricant, PhD, president and CEO of the Natural Products Association, said the SSCI effort will help to drive standardization and transparency in the industry.

“People have a lot of different certification programs but there were some tweaks that needed to be made from program to program. You can be a certifying body and tell everyone how great your standard is, but how do you prove that?” ​ Fabricant told NutraIngredients-USA.

“Accountants have to get reaccredited and re-certified. Lawyers and doctors, too. The certification community is very broad and they fulfill a very important role in out industry,” ​he said.

The other 90%

“It’s a good year if FDA can get to 10% of the facilities under their jurisdiction. What about the other 90%? SSCI shows that we are going to have the tools to help bridge that gap,” ​Fabricant added.

“SSCI brings together the best experts from the leading supplement companies to examine everything from auditor training, qualification, and the way audits are conducted. We look forward to having additional retailers and others in the industry join our mission to enhance the safety of dietary supplements and promote quality and safety for consumers everywhere,”​ said Dadrion Gaston senior director, corporate ethics and compliance at Walmart.

Dietary supplement manufacturers must comply with good manufacturing practices established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and often rely on third-party auditors to help them verify and comply with those standards. SSCI plays a role in establishing a minimum set of requirements for all certifying bodies and certification program owners with the ultimate goal of harmonization with global requirements for supplements.

“Our new benchmarking guidance documents will unify and promote supply chain quality and provide a unique stakeholder platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and networking. We are proud of our commitment to increase transparency and safety in the dietary supplement and natural product industry,” ​said Guru Ramanathan, PhD, chief innovation officer & senior vice president for GNC.

Comments should be submitted to no later than May 1, 2019.

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