June 11, 2009
In the current regulatory climate, doing business with a manufacturer that is committed to annual GMP (good manufacturing practice) certification provides a great benefit. Consistent openness denotes a facility that meets the highest manufacturing standards. Certifications also provide a greater level of confidence in the quality of production and offer several advantages.
Independent certifications translate into trained inspectors carefully evaluating a manufacturers facility on an ongoing basis, ensuring the quality and safety of a significant business investment. A reliable turnkey manufacturer will have strict, well-documented internal GMP procedures in place that often surpass certifying agency requirements. As an added safeguard, customers should also feel welcome to send their own inspectors for a formal review or audit of their facilities, extended quality control/quality assurance (QA/QC) capabilities and extensive record-keeping processes.
Independent certifications also provide a valuable tool when marketing finished products, reinforcing their perceived quality. Consumers of dietary supplements have become much more familiar with the idea of certifications symbolizing quality. While a competitive bid is obviously important, making a decision based solely on the lowest cost of goods can lead to various forms of trouble down the road, as well as the loss of valuable public trust.
One of the best-known U.S.-based GMP certification organizations is NSF International. This independent, not-for-profit testing organization does GMP registration and also conducts product testing of dietary supplements. Beyond simply evaluating test data submitted by manufacturers or analyzing single product samples, NSF conducts product testing in its own accredited laboratories to ensure the actual contents of the product match those printed on the label. NSF also registers manufacturer under its Athletic Banned Substances program, known as GMP for Sport.
One of the leading overseas GMP certifications is that given by Australias Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Recurrently scheduled audits with TGA demonstrate compliance with its stringent international GMP standards for dietary supplements.
Other independent certification programs also exist for a range of quality standards. Kosher certification, for example, is viewed by many consumers as a distinct mark of quality; organic certification is another indication of manufacturing to established guidelines. Each certification can help distinguish products as reliable, safe and effective.
Consider the multiple marketing and legal benefits of working with a contract manufacturer that prioritizes GMP certification. Partnerships with independent certification organizations provide advantages and safeguards in an increasingly regulated environment. They also impart legitimacy to a finished product brand for the educated consumer. Discovering ways to associate these important symbols with your brands may be the edge that distinguishes a product in this crowded marketplace.
Judy Curtis and Judah Fansler are both with National Enzyme Co. (NEC). NEC provides manufacturers and distributors worldwide with comprehensive dietary supplement services, from research and development to marketing support.
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