NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--The Executive Committee of the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) in early June approved language for a standard disclaimer to be used in conjunction with the association's Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) logo. The disclaimer reads: "This seal certifies that the manufacturer of this product uses quality systems and procedures that comply with NNFA's Dietary Supplement GMP standards. The quality of individual ingredients, however, has not been certified." According to NNFA, the disclaimer was added to "keep consumers from making incorrect inferences about a product that bears the seal."
Since its inception, the GMP program has certified that the facility at which a dietary supplement has been produced has met certain production standards and procedures. When the GMP program was rolled out, it was promoted with materials that emphasized that the program would give consumers "verification that the products they buy are safe and reliable." It further stated that the seal assured confidence in a product's "safety, quality and purity."
Some manufacturers and raw material suppliers said the promotional materials and the seal itself could give retailers and consumers the impression that products that carry the GMP seal are superior in product quality. In a letter to NNFA last year, the legal counsel for one supplier stated that "while GMPs are of the utmost importance in order to ensure that products contain what they purport to contain and are manufactured in accordance with the highest possible quality controls, the relationship between guarantees of safety and GMPs appears tenuous." NNFA did not comment further on whether these concerns brought about the current change.
Companies who have been certified under the GMP program have until Dec. 31 to use product labels that have the seal but do not carry the disclaimer; those certified after June 1 must carry the disclaimer in conjunction with the GMP seal on all materials.
In addition to the disclaimer modification, NNFA's board of directors voted in April that GMP membership is no longer a pre-condition of supplier (manufacturer) membership in NNFA. It had originally given a three-year implementation process for certifying all its supplier members; however, only a handful of companies have become certified since the program's launch last summer.