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Inside Scoop: Reshaping the Supplement Industry Through Successful Self-Regulation

Julia Rivera//August 22, 2023//

Inside Scoop: Reshaping the Supplement Industry Through Successful Self-Regulation

Julia Rivera //August 22, 2023//

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Since its founding more than 22 years ago the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) has been a driving force in the regulation of supplements for dogs, cats and horses. Becoming a member of the NASC means making a commitment to quality, consistency and continuous improvement.

“This industry was threatened by products and ingredients being removed from the marketplace back in 2001 when NASC was founded. I’m not sure what this industry would look like today if not for our organization and NASC members,” said Bill Bookout, president, board chair and founding member of the organization.

When consumers see the NASC Quality Seal, they can rest assured that the company has passed a comprehensive third-party audit and complies with rigorous NASC requirements. Customers can be confident they are purchasing a quality product every time.

“Process control or following written quality standards means you will have the same product next week, next month, next year,” explained Bookout. “You want a quality product that’s produced consistently to the proper standards because that means quality ingredients and quality production processes to maximize the probability that the animal is going to respond positively. You need consistency and third-party audits to help verify that.”

The organization has created standards used in its audits that are a hybrid of federal regulations. Bookout explains the NASC standards took segments from Human Dietary Supplements cGMPs as well as the cGMPs required by the Food Safety Modernization Act for Animal Food.

Although retail stores are a classic way to shop, in the last decade e-commerce options have been on the rise.

“People should be aware that all claims connected to the company are the company’s responsibility. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on the ground at a brick-and-mortar store, it can be on an e-commerce partner’s website or the company’s website, or even a social media posts. The company is responsible for everything regarding compliance, regardless of the channel to market,” he added.

The NASC Quality Seal, which is not available for purchase, is a coveted third–party certification that can be about a 120-day process to earn. In order to meet the requirements, companies must: submit documented quality control and production procedures; conduct real-time monitoring and mandatory monthly adverse event reporting; follow stringent labeling for all products and forms of labeling; comply with random product testing to ensure products meet label claims; and submit to ingredient review by the NASC Scientific Advisory Committee.

Although the process can seem overwhelming, Bookout says NASC works with companies during every step. “We want companies to complete the audit. We want to have a high degree of assurance that our member companies are producing quality products,” he added.

It’s imperative for companies that use a manufacturing partner to understand that the company that markets the product is the supplier of record, and therefore they are responsible for providing a written quality manual and verifying all processes they depend on their co-manufacturer to perform.

After passing the audit, companies can display the NASC Quality Seal on their products and marketing materials for two years. A re-audit is then required every two years to continue using the Quality Seal.

Bookout states that “quality is really a continuous process; quality is always a journey, never a destination,” and the collaboration within the pet industry is the reason NASC continues to revolutionize the marketplace.

“It’s NASC members that are contributing to a cause greater than their own individual company’s self-interests. A rising tide floats all boats and I think, based on results, that is exactly what we’ve helped achieve,” said Bookout.