Amazon updates its dietary supplements seller’s policy

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© CasarsaGuru / Getty Images
© CasarsaGuru / Getty Images

Related tags Amazon Dietary supplements quality standards

Tech giant Amazon has updated its requirements for dietary supplements and now requires third-party verification, including testing data and certificates of analyses straight from the lab to Amazon.

In an announcement issued and effective on April 3​, Amazon stated: “To ensure that your listings are compliant with our policy, you must use the Manage Your Compliance dashboard to initiate a test for each product with one of the third-party TIC [Testing, Inspection, and Certification] organizations. Once testing is requested, you’ll work directly with the third-party TIC organization to complete the testing of your products.”

History

Amazon announced sweeping new specifications for dietary supplements in December 2020. NutraIngredients-USA was the first industry publication to report the specifications​, which can be found HERE​.

Under the old policy, dietary supplement sellers were required to submit Certificates of Analysis (CoAs) from an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory (in-house or third party) for each dietary supplement being listed or to show enrollment in an Independent Quality Certification Program. In addition, brand owners were required to provide a Letter of Guarantee that ensure compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (21 CFR Part 111); that the products only contain lawful and safe ingredients (as defined in section 402 (f) of the FD&C Act); and that labels are accurate.

The tech giant has now changed this and is no longer accepting CoAs directly from sellers.

“Products that are certified to NSF/ANSI 173 or NSF 229 meet Amazon’s policy requirements,” Amazon stated. However, products that don’t meet these standards will be required to undergo lab testing services requested via Amazon, and Amazon will connect the seller to a lab that will conduct the testing.

While the policy​ states that sellers will have to "work directly with NSF International to share compliance information with Amazon", NutraIngredients-USA understands that Selling Partners also have the option to work with Eurofins.

In an email to NutraIngredients-USA, David Trosin, senior managing director of health sciences global certification at NSF International, stated: "NSF is proud to be providing testing and certification services for dietary supplements in the U.S. for compliance in this program.  

"Amazon Sellers who choose to certify or test their products with NSF will enjoy a frictionless experience via the cutting-edge NSF Seller Portal, our proprietary system to manage testing and certification in one convenient and secure location. The portal is a one-stop shop that includes AI-powered, on-demand quotes for testing costs, a dashboard to track product testing and dedicated customer support. 

"Certification to NSF/ANSI 173, NSF 229 or NSF Certified for Sport satisfy the requirements of the Amazon Dietary Supplement Testing Program, marking NSF as the trusted leader in the dietary supplement and functional food industries."

Tightening of standards

"Another retailer has tightened its standards for dietary supplements," said Duffy MacKay, senior vice president of dietary supplements at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA). "Amazon’s move aims to safeguard consumers against illegal products containing undisclosed ingredients."

"Dealing with Amazon continues to be a moving target,” said Abhishek Gurnani, partner at Amin Talati Wasserman, LLP. "It appears some of the more well-known labs in our industry, like Eurofins [and NSF], have partnered up with Amazon. It looks like brands can order testing for their product and deal directly with the lab, but the lab will then send the COA directly to Amazon.

"Under the previous requirements, a COA for testing conducted by the brand could be uploaded so long as the lab was ISO certified. What we are currently looking into is what exact testing is going to be required from these partner labs to see if it’s any different from the last round of requirements."

Based on the comments submitted on an Amazon Seller Central forum​, there are still many unanswered questions regarding how this will all work. Amazon will host a live webinar on April 17 at 11:00 a.m. PT to cover Amazon’s policy on selling dietary supplements and to answer questions. For more information and to register, click HERE​.

Questions raised about dietary supplement products

The quality of some dietary supplement products available via Amazon has been questioned repeatedly over the past seven years since Illinois-based natural products manufacturer NOW began to testing lesser-known brands on the platform, putting a range of supplement segments under the proverbial microscope. NOW’s program was recognized by the Editors of NutraIngredients-USA with the 2021 Award for Industry Initiative of the Year​.

ChromaDex has also raised questions about the quality of NMN supplements​ on Amazon, and Timeline has shared tests results​ that alleged that some urolithin A supplements on the platform did not contain any of the cellular aging ingredient. 

In response to the new Amazon policy, Dan Richard, NOW Health Group  VP of Global Sales and Marketing, told us NOW is still digesting and trying to understand the quality rule changes that started April 2, 2024. 

"On the surface, it appears Amazon is making a good move to improve quality and add an element of certifications," said Richard. "This has been long overdue and appears to be one good option going forward. Many sellers will share the concern that Amazon gave zero notice of this rule change and this policy pushes NSF to the front for certifications.  NOW received more than a dozen Amazon emails April 4 about delisting our products due to “missing mandatory compliance requirements for products.”  Most of these are sports and sexual performance products, but not all.  Amazon seems to take a very long time to make decisions like this, and then moves from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye.  All brands need time to learn, then plan, then execute and this takes time. 

"So today we have more questions than answers, as likely all sellers will as well.  One big one is when & how will ALL vitamin/supplement products be included in a certification process?  The product selection so far seems very haphazard and unpredictable.  We hope for more clarity from Amazon."

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