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Industry News
July 8, 2010

Vitamin Retailer News
Second of Three Retailer Webinars Announced
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) recently announced details for the second of three planned webinars in 2010. The webinar, entitled “Dietary Supplement Claims in the Retail Environment: Roles and responsibilities of manufacturers and retailers,” will be held Tuesday, August 3, 2:00–4:00 pm EDT.

The webinar, moderated by Andrew Shao, PhD, senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs at CRN, will provide attendees with a better understanding of the legal requirements regarding claims made by retailers at the point of sale. Speakers will also explore a manufacturer’s responsibility with regards to compliance with both state and federal advertising guidelines in the retail settings and give examples of industry best practices.

A panel of legal/regulatory experts—Anne Maher, a food and drug attorney at Kleinfeld, Kaplan & Becker, LLP; Donna DiDomenico, director of training and development, the Vitamin Shoppe; Dick Laurin, senior corporate counsel, Mannatech, Inc.; and Gregory Fortsch, a senior attorney in the Division of Advertising Practices at the Federal Trade Commission—will cover the following areas: insights on legal obligations for both the manufacturer and retailer; retailer and direct seller perspectives in implementing policies that help sales personnel stay within the framework of government regulation; and the regulator perspective in understanding the laws and their limits.

The registration fee ($149 for CRN members and $199 for non-members) is a per registration site fee, meaning multiple people may participate in the webinar from a single site, such as a company’s conference room. This fee also includes unlimited access to the on-demand recording of the webinar for 90 days. In addition, a promotional discount of $25 will be offered to participants taking more than one sponsored webinar in 2010.

These webinars mark a continuation of a webinar partnership between CRN and Virgo Publishing that began in 2007. The first webinar of 2010, “Dietary Supplement Safety: Understanding the Role of Adverse Event Reports in Product Recalls,” was held May 3, 2010. The third and final webinar of 2010 will be held November 4, with topics and speakers still to be determined.

For further details on the speakers, agenda and registration information, visit Natural Products INSIDER’s website at www.naturalproductsinsider.com/webinars/2010/08/crn-webinar.aspx.

ConsumerLab.com Detects Variations in Echinacea Supplements
Echinacea may help prevent colds and cold-symptoms, but choosing a supplement is difficult due to the range of ingredients offered, reported a recent study from ConsumerLab.com.

To provide consumers guidance, ConsumerLab.com selected and tested a variety of echinacea supplements for adults and children. It found none of the products contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides or microbes that can occur in some herbs; however, four products lacked sufficient information for consumers to know the amount of echinacea contained. ConsumerLab.com categorized the remaining products by the type of echinacea listed, commenting on the amount of clinical support for such preparations.

ConsumerLab.com found enormous variation in ingredients among products reviewed, and listed daily amounts of echinacea ranging from just 25mg to over 1,600mg for extracts and as much as 3,600mg for dried herb powders.

“Of all of the popular herbs in the US market, the clinical research on echinacea is probably the most challenging to interpret due to the range of preparations used, yielding positive as well as negative results,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council. “However, the research does support the use of certain echinacea preparations for either prevention or treatment of upper respiratory symptoms associated with colds and flus.”

The new Product Review of Echinacea Supplements is available online here and provides test results for sixteen supplements—nine selected by ConsumerLab.com and seven tested at the request of manufacturers/distributors through its Voluntary Certification Program and included for having met the quality criteria for contaminants. Also listed are two products similar to one that passed contamination testing but are sold under different brand names. Brands included in the report are Dinosaurs Jurassic Echinacea, Gaia Herbs, GNC, Herb Pharm, Herbs for Kids, ImmuGo, Life Extension, Li’l Critters, MMS, Nature Made, Nature’s Bounty, Planetary Herbals, Puritan’s Pride, Rite Aid, Solgar, Spring Valley, Swanson and Vitamin World. In addition to test results, the report reviews and compares the amounts of echinacea and other ingredients in the products.

Organic Products Retailer News
Standards Committee Making Headway With Agriculture Benchmarks
Leonardo Academy, a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing sustainability, recently reported significant progress during the third face-to-face meeting of the multi-stakeholder Standards Committee that is working to develop an American National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture.

During the two-day meeting at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Standards Committee members discussed and then voted to approve guiding sustainability principles developed by the Economic, Social and Environmental Criteria subcommittees. Principles related to farm management and planning; labor rights; water, soil and air pollution; soil health, fertility and productivity; farm inputs and outputs; biodiversity and greenhouse gases will now move forward as the basis for criteria, indicators and metrics. In addition, the Committee members approved structure and process documents designed to facilitate standards development.

The Committee voted in favor of a timeline to facilitate the completion of the standard by fall of 2012. “The Standards Committee and subcommittees have been working together amazingly well—way beyond my expectations,” said Committee member Russell Williams, who represents the American Farm Bureau. Moving forward, the Standards Committee and chartered subcommittees will complete the remaining guiding principles and begin developing metrics and indicators to support fulfillment of the principles set forth for agricultural sustainability.

Equal Exchange Expands Fundraising Program
Equal Exchange (West Bridgewater, MA) is expanding its organic and fair trade fundraising program for schools by teaming up with Ten Thousand Villages, the non-profit organization that helped pioneer the fair trade model more than 50 years ago.

Equal Exchange’s fundraising program already featured a full line of organic, fair trade food and beverages, and enabled schools and community groups to raise funds for themselves while benefiting small-scale organic farmers around the globe. The fundraiser now also offers fairly traded gifts for the home and handmade, tree-free gift wrap.

Equal Exchange’s fundraising program is designed for elementary, middle and high schools and works both as an event or catalog sale. It is an easy way for PTAs and student groups to raise funds at a competitive margin (40 percent) while at the same time reinforcing social and environmental responsibility and encouraging global citizenship, Equal Exchange said. In addition to the organic, fairly traded coffees, teas, chocolates, cocoas and healthy snacks from Equal Exchange, the fundraiser now also offers items such as silk scarves from Nepal, tablecloths and glass pendants from India, and batik greeting cards from Thailand.

To complement the fundraiser, Equal Exchange also offers a free, downloadable 16-unit curriculum, “Win Win Solutions,” that helps demonstrate the link between personal actions and community efforts to create a more just and sustainable world. The curriculum incorporates participatory teaching methods and satisfies many basic US curriculum standards for social studies, geography, math, economics and other subjects.

For more information about Equal Exchange, call (774) 776-7400 or visit www.equalexchange.coop.

Nutrition Industry Executive News
DSHEA Upheld on Capitol Hill
On June 25, conferees on the Wall Street Reform bill (S. 3217) decided not to include in the final legislation sweeping new powers for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Such additional authority very likely would have led to advertising rules on dietary supplement industry that would have undercut the protections of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), said the Natural Products Association (NPA).

“The provision, if passed, would have negatively impacted the dietary supplement industry—and many other industries—because it would have given FTC free reign to rewrite its own advertising regulations,” added Mike Greene, vice president of government relations for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). “This would have come at the expense of consumers who would not have been able to obtain complete information about consumer products.”

“This has been one of the top legislative priorities for the NPA for the last six months,” said John Gay, NPA’s executive director and CEO, who also noted that in that time, over 28,000 messages were sent to Capitol Hill through the association’s website. “I am proud of the way our members responded to our calls to write their senators and representatives, and to urge their customers to do the same. I am also proud of the hard work put in by our staff and lobby team. Good grassroots and good lobbying are a powerful combination.”

Since identifying this issue as a potential threat to the industry in December, NPA joined together with what eventually became a coalition of over 50 national trade associations. Through the coalition, NPA lobbied members of Congress, and ran ads in Capitol Hill publications. “Some of our members might have gotten tired of hearing from us on this issue, but sometimes in Washington persistence pays off,” said Gay.

Gay urged the industry not to grow complacent. “This is a great victory, but the war isn’t over,” he said. “Those forces on Capitol Hill that want to overregulate us are still out there, planning their next move. We need to remain vigilant.”

CRN Announces Symposium
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) will host a line-up of top scientific experts to offer insight and discourse on critical aspects of future dietary supplement research at the popular one-day symposium, CRN’s The Workshop: A Day of Science, taking place September 29, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, Austin, Texas. The Workshop will be held in tandem with The Conference, CRN’s annual symposium for the dietary supplement industry, and attendees for both events will co-mingle at a networking reception the evening of September 29.

Eileen Kennedy, DSc, dean of Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy, will open the symposium with a keynote address entitled, “Overfed and undernutrified: A global perspective on the role of dietary supplements in dietary guidance.” Following Dr. Kennedy’s presentation, the day will be divided into four consecutive scientific sessions, each focusing on a different aspect of dietary supplement research.

The first session features speakers John Milner, PhD, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute; Renger Witkamp, PhD, Wageningen University, The Netherlands; and Ronald Krauss, MD, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, and member of the Institute Of Medicine (IOM) expert committee on the topic of biomarkers.

In the second session, Robin Marles, PhD, Health Canada, will examine how science drives policy, based on case histories from the regulatory body. Following lunch, a panel will offer insights on recent advances in nutrigenomics/nutrigenetics with guest speakers Robert Superko, MD, Celera; Steven Zeisel, PhD, University of North Carolina; and Ray Rodriguez, PhD, University of California, Davis.

The Workshop concludes with a look to the future, with a presentation by George Burdock, PhD, Burdock Group, on the application of nanotechnology research to dietary supplements.

Click here to register online. Visit CRN’s events page for the full agenda, pricing, registration options and more.

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