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CRN, CHPA see difficulties with country-of-origin labeling

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON —The Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association both recently spoke out against proposed country-of-origin labeling requirements for dietary supplements put forward by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., as part of a bill to ensure the safety of supplements manufactured outside the United States.

CRN suggested that the dietary supplement good manufacturing practices, officially enacted last year, present a stronger measure to ensure the safety and quality of imported dietary supplement ingredients.

Perhaps the strongest argument against COOL is its redundancy, especially considering that the Food and Drug Administration already requires supplement manufacturers to keep records of the company an ingredient comes from and the product goes to, which would allow the agency to trace the pedigree of ingredients back to their original source, thanks to the bioterrorism law, CRN noted. “Consumers want and deserve appropriate regulations that ensure the supplements they depend on for good health and wellness are made with quality ingredients accurately detailed on the label that are prepared, produced and stored in a manner that assures the identity, purity and strength of the product,” CRN stated. “COOL does not provide that assurance and merely informs a consumer where an ingredient is sourced. Knowing the source of the ingredient is not an indicator of safety and is less relevant and beneficial to the consumer than knowing the manufacturer has imposed high standards at every step of production.”

What COOL requirements would do, however, is impose a significant burden on the manufacturer. Global economy ingredients are sourced from multiple suppliers around the world, and manufacturers would need to report the country source for each of those ingredients. “Each time a manufacturer changed the country of origin for just one ingredient it would have to scrap its existing stock of labels and create new ones, adding significant cost and delay,” CHPA president Linda Suydam noted in a Sept. 25 letter addressed to Dingell. “In short, a country-of-origin labeling requirement would add substantial layers of complexity and cost without any return on product safety.”

Compound that with the fact that many supplements contain a variety of ingredients, and any resulting label would be littered with country-of-origin copy that could serve to confuse consumers. For example, to list all the countries of origin for all ingredients in a multivitamin, containing 25 or more essential nutrients for example, on one product label would be impractical, if not impossible, and likely confusing for consumers, CRN stated.

“For a product like the multivitamin, if we had to list the country of origin of each individual ingredient, it could be an extensive, accordion-like label [that] would not necessarily help the consumer,” Mike Greene, CRN senior director of government relations, told Drug Store News.

In addition, single batches of products may include raw materials from multiple sources even during a single run of the manufacturing line, which could make presenting country-of-origin copy on a Web site difficult.

Another possible concern over COOL, though not one put forward by either CHPA or CRN, is that the popular perception associated with the manufacturing practices of a particular country may color a consumer’s purchase decision. Last year, Strategic Name Development sponsored a survey in the wake of the China recalls that suggested American consumers would favor products manufactured in India as opposed to China—78 percent of Americans would prefer the raw ingredients in their pet foods were from India than China; 74 percent suggested they would buy a prescription drug made in India as opposed to China; and 73 percent would rather their toys were from India than China. In only four of 25 categories did consumers prefer Chinese products: automobiles, cell phones, computers and flat-screen televisions—in other words, no products that could possibly be ingested by either themselves or their family.

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Alimentary Health signs licensing agreement with P&G Pet Care

BY DSN STAFF

CORK, Ireland Alimentary Health on Wednesday announced that it has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with P&G Pet Care, makers of two of the worlds leading companion animal pet care products, Iams and Eukanuba.

Under the licensing agreement, Alimentary Health’s and P&G’s proprietary pet care probiotics will be used in P&G Pet Care’s nutritional supplement products. The global market for companion animal pet care products was estimated to be over $40 billion in 2007. Alimentary Health will receive an undisclosed royalty on sales of all products containing the pet care probiotics.

In 2001, Alimentary Health partnered with P&G to develop safe and effective probiotic products for gastrointestinal indications. In 2007, P&G Health Care started using Alimentary Health’s natural probiotic strain Bifidobacterium Infantis 35624, in Align in the US. Align is a daily probiotic supplement that helps build and maintain a strong and healthy digestive system.

“Today’s announcement comes as a result of our continued successful collaboration with P&G,” Barry Kiely, chief executive officer of Alimentary Health, said. “We are please that our ongoing efforts have once again resulted in Alimentary Health’s technology making it to the marketplace. This agreement is a result of a successful research and development program between the two companies and it brings us closer to fulfilling our vision of becoming the worldwide leader in the research, discovery and clinical development of probiotics. We are proud of our long standing association with such a leading multi-national company.”

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Kmart holds GoldK Day health services, screening day for seniors

BY Antoinette Alexander

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Kmart, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holding Corp., has announced that its pharmacy division will hold the annual GoldK Day on Nov. 18 for seniors.

“Kmart wants to remind seniors that we care about their health and GoldK Day is a way for our pharmacists to give back to these important customers by not only offering free screenings, but assistance with Medicare health plan selection and information about disease states, which can help seniors make better decisions about their healthcare,” Mark Doerr, vice president of Kmart pharmacy, said.

The activities planned for the event, to be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at all 1,100 Kmart pharmacy locations, include free blood pressure screenings, free memory screenings, Medicare health plan selection assistance and more.

No appointments are necessary. For more information, customers can all 800-866-0086 or visit www.kmart.com/pharmacy.

The initiatives are tied to the efforts of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, the annual initiative aimed at promoting early detection of memory problems and appropriate intervention.

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