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Global Evolutions

New Blog on the Block

Greetings! As I write my first INSIDER blog, I'm listening to holiday music and honestly don't understand how people dislike Christmas music. It's so fun an uplifting, and it matches my mood perfectly this time of year.

Of course working in this industry and getting an opportunity to have my own "Sandy's Insight" blog also does wonders for my disposition. Sure, 2011 wasn't all great for the industry, but it sure had its fantastic moments. Just take a look at how we rallied after FDA released its New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) Draft Guidance. All the trade associations, including United Natural Products Alliance (which I got to attend), Natural Products Association (NPA), the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN, which was held in conjunction with VIRGO) held events or webinars explaining this potentially market-altering document. As the comment period closed (on Dec. 2), it was interesting to see that industryfrom the above-mentioned trade groups to the USP and individual companiesall came to pretty much the same conclusion: the Draft Guidance needs to be withdrawn and rewritten.

What will be even more compelling will be what FDA does with the comments. Will it take industry's suggestion and give us another Draft Guidance?  Will it ignore our complaints and enforce as is? If that happens, what will the courts have to say (as I'm sure companies will challenge FDA's actions)? The worst outcome would be to have FDA let the document sit in limbo; industry needs a guidance on NDI notifications, but just not this one.

Also this year, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act (S. 1310), primarily targeting products that blur the line between dietary supplement and food/beverage. While no movement has occurred on this legislation, industry was quick to show how the bill is unnecessary by providing comments to media.

This year, like every year, studies were released and covered by mainstream media that showed "vitamins are the worst thing ever;" or, to be more specific, that they were linked to prostate cancer and mortality in women. Yet, industry again rallied, giving its perspective. Funny how the media never seems to get up in arms over studies that show natural products are beneficial. Just this week, studies were published that showed krill oil helps reduce colitis symptoms, French maritime pine bark (Pycnogenol) improved mental performance and not having omega-3s in the diet leads to heart disease. Yet, I didn't read about those in the Wall Street Journal. Maybe, with any luck, 2012 will bring more media attention when studies show the positive aspects of nutrients.

Then, this year we also had the melatonin in brownies issue, which got usand eventually FDAtalking about the defining lines between foods and supplements.

Yes, this year was interesting, but until now, I didn't have a direct way of sharing my views on breaking topics with the INSIDER audience. But now, I do via this blog, and I look forward to it even more than I look forward to the next verse of "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

Throughout the year, expect me to offer my take on topics affecting the industry, and I would love your input. Please email me at [email protected], call me at 480-990-1101 ext. 1282 or leave your comments below. I'd also love to meet at SupplySide Marketplace or SupplySide West if you can find time in your busy schedule. Let me know when you're free, and we'll arrange a meeting.

I look forward to a fun, interesting, adventure-filled 2012 in the natural products industry. I hope you join me.

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