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“Efforts like these help our industry maintain its strong record of quality, safety, and efficacy, which consumers have come to expect. Our industry is made up of people who want to help other people get and stay healthy, and product integrity and truth in advertising are two important ways to help achieve that goal,” said Tracy Taylor, executive director of the Natural Products Foundation.
Finished-Product Testing Program
Under this program, roughly 15 of the most popular consumer products -- including vitamins and minerals, nutrition bars and sports beverages –- will be randomly purchased from retail stores each month.
The products will be then sent to independent labs for testing, according to the label claim and using the most scientifically relevant standards. Test results will be peer-reviewed by industry scientific experts. All results will be published on the foundation web site.
The program is completely transparent. Results of the first product tests will be published in the fall of 2007. “What’s on the label is what should be in the product, nothing more, nothing less. This program will not only boost consumer confidence, it will help discourage bad actors from cutting corners since the results will be made public,” said Taylor. Taylor also emphasized that the program’s transparency allows for experts to confer on methods and standards while making comprehensive information available to consumers. Although the program is just being launched, it already has three sponsors: Bergstrom Nutrition, NOW Foods and Vitamin Shoppe.
Truth in Advertising Program
This program seeks to enforce truth in advertising on three tracks: education about existing laws and regulations, a new industry pledge, and a hotline where anybody can report questionable claims.
First is learning and developing a working knowledge of existing laws and regulations, which are complex and can be confusing and unclear. Foundation officials will work with manufacturers, retailers, advertisers, publishers or others involved with the use, distribution or sale of natural products to educate them on the details of advertising requirements.
Second is a new industry pledge (text below), which manufacturers, retailers, advertisers or others involved with the use, distribution or sale of natural products will review and sign.
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