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Education as Certification

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by James Gormley -

These days there is much discussion—as there should be—about standards, certifications, and what’s in a given bottle of supplements (such as superior quality ingredients) and what’s not in (e.g., GMO-free and gluten-free).

But what can empower a company to confidently map out the life trajectory of a dietary supplement from sprout to shelf? Education.

It is fortunate, then, for producers and consumers that the Natural Products Association (NPA) and UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a “global independent safety science company with more than a century of expertise innovating safety solutions” are now working together to offer “increased educational opportunities to NPA members,” according to a recent NPA announcement.

Having served on the NPA Education Committee some years ago, and having helped companies comply with regulatory requirements since then, I can confidently say that this educational boost will help participating member companies learn, brush up on, and master what is needed to navigate the oftentimes confusing seas of regulatory compliance.

From preparing for cGMP inspections, to cGMP quality control requirements, to production and process controls, to structure-function claims and labeling, to SOPs and more, the planned educational modules appear to address a whole range of critical areas important to the natural products industry.

The new partnership will combine NPA’s regulatory and compliance expertise with “top-notch training modules from EduNeering, the online regulatory training division of UL,” according to the NPA.

“Given the combined reputation and expertise of both NPA and UL, our collaborative efforts to bring elevated education to the natural products industry is the logical next step for both organizations,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., CEO of the NPA.

“NPA brings a level of regulatory expertise in Dr. Fabricant and Dr. Corey Hilmas that is unmatched in the dietary supplement industry, and UL is very pleased to be partnering with them in this new endeavor. Through this alliance, the industry and consumers will undoubtedly be better served,” said Mike O’Hara, general manager of global nutraceuticals for UL.

“Our combined vision is to see one program the industry can turn to for dietary supplement education, and we see this being that program,” Dr. Fabricant added. “We anticipate this to be the start of a lasting relationship between NPA and UL that will reflect this shared vision and impact our industry in a very profound and meaningful way.”

Given UL’s global recognition and universal adoption, I anticipate good things coming out of this collaboration, including a more savvy industry marketplace that is better equipped and stronger than ever before, which will the industry and consumers. 

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