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Getting Supplement Labels Right

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After four years of waiting, the supplement industry is finally getting direction from the Food and Drug Administration on the amount, type and quality of evidence manufacturers should have if they intend to make health claims on the label.

suup.jpgThe milestone is important — not just because of the guidance itself, but because the FDA’s “non-binding recommendations” seem to be aligned with the standards used by the Federal Trade Commission, which made a mint last year prosecuting supplement makers for misleading advertising claims.

I called Daniel Fabricant, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Natural Products Association, and asked him what we can expect from this coordinated approach being taken by the feds.

“Now, whether it’s an FDA labeling issue or an FTC advertising issue, you’re essentially going to be measured by the same standard,” he told me.

Wellness-minded consumers have made vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements a big part of their daily health regimen. As the formulas grow more sophisticated and condition-specific (arthritis relief, heart health and everything in between), consumers and retailers alike will benefit from more consistent rules covering both labels and advertising.

Because let’s face it. Most times, the label is the ad.

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