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Industry News
January 19, 2011

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Vitamin Retailer News
Retailers Increase Partnership With National Animal Supplement Council
Retailers that sell animal health supplements, such as PETCO, are partnering with National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) to reduce incidences of regulatory action and to provide consumers with guidance on purchasing reputable products for companion animals.

Stop sales of animal health supplements in retail stores were a frequent occurrence prior to the formation of NASC. The nonprofit industry trade association was formed to ensure the availability of products that contribute to the health and well-being of animals and develop current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) standards in the near-term, while working to establish viable long-term regulatory solutions.

“If a product is not properly labeled, then state officials can take it off the shelf immediately,” said Bill Bookout, president of NASC. “We have drastically reduced the incidences of stop sales for retailers because our members follow strict labeling and claims guidelines for both feed products as well as animal health supplements, and proactively register them with the regulatory agencies that have authority over these products.”

Not only are retailers relying on NASC for representation and guidance in the event of a government-issued stop sale, but many, like leading pet specialty retailer PETCO, are elevating awareness of the association to help educate consumers at point-of-purchase displays. Signage carrying the NASC Quality Seal directs consumers to buy vitamins and health supplements that meet the highest level of industry standards for quality and vigilance.

Supplements marketed for animal use that are similar to human dietary supplements have only two legal categories: animal feed or animal drugs. Therefore, even common ingredients, such as glucosamine and chondroitin used for joint health, are not FDA-approved for use in animal feed products and may be subject to regulatory action, making them unavailable to consumers at retail. Regulation of dietary supplements for companion animals, such as dogs, cats and horses, was not addressed in the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act (DSHEA) passed by the U.S. Congress in 1994.

“NASC was formed to represent the interests of manufacturers, veterinarians, consumers, pet owners, retailers, tack stores and distributors who work with the regulators for the health and well-being of companion animals and horses,” said Bookout.

NASC was the first to initiate a third-party quality assurance program for the animal health supplement industry with its NASC Quality Seal Program. The association works jointly with both state and federal regulatory officials, the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Congress and the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine to identify responsible labeling criteria for animal health supplements and maintain the availability of these products at retail.

For more information, visit www.animalsupplements.org.

Echinacea May Reduce Common Cold by Only Half a Day
An over-the-counter herbal treatment believed to have medicinal benefits has minimal impact in relieving the common cold, according to research by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, involved echinacea, a wild flower (also known as the purple coneflower) found in meadows and prairies of the Midwestern plains. Dried echinacea root has been used in homemade remedies such as teas, dried herb and liquid extracts.

The randomized trial involved more than 700 people between 12 and 80 years old. The subjects, all of whom had very early symptoms of a cold, were divided into groups—one group received no pills, a second group received what they knew was echinacea, and a third group was given either echinacea or a placebo, but they did not know which. Participants recorded their symptoms twice a day for the duration of the cold (up to two weeks).

According to Dr. Bruce Barrett, the lead researcher and an associate professor of family medicine, patients receiving echinacea saw the duration of their cold reduced by seven to 10 hours. But he said this was not considered a significant decrease.

“Trends were in the direction of benefit, amounting to an average half-day reduction in the duration of a week-long cold or an approximate 10 percent reduction in overall severity,” he said. “However, this dose regimen did not make a large impact on the course of the common cold, compared either to blinded placebo or to no pills.”

Barrett said that a larger trial involving people who have found echinacea useful may help provide more answers. He added that there were no side effects seen, so there is no reason that cold sufferers should stop using echinacea if they think it helps them.

Organic Products Retailer News
Thomas Harding to Speak to Natural & Organic Products Community
Organic food and agriculture pioneer Thomas Harding will speak on the future of sustainable food and agriculture to an invited audience of Boulder and Denver-area business, media, agriculture and community leaders. Harding, the founding president of the Organic Trade Association and advisor to leading organic producers, manufacturers, retailers, non-governmental organizations and policymakers throughout the world, will speak on Thursday, January 27, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the offices of the Sterling Rice Group in downtown Boulder.

Through his company, Agrisystems International (Wind Gap, PA), Harding is an international specialist in sustainability, certified organic food and farming production systems, and in U.S. and international policy governing organic foods. He has served as advisor to leading local companies including Horizon Organic Dairy, Celestial Seasonings and Coleman Natural Products.

Harding is visiting Boulder as part of “An Evening at the Epicenter,” a series of interactive talks for entrepreneurs and business and community leaders in natural, organic, sustainable and socially responsible products and services—often referred to as the LOHAS market (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). Sales for products in the LOHAS market are estimated at nearly $300 billion per year.

OTA and NSF International Announce Training
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) and NSF International’s training and education division have joined forces and expertise to offer a two-day intensive program entitled, “HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) for the Organic Professional.” The workshop is an essential resource for companies in the industry committed to maintaining both certified organic and food safety standards.
             
The two-day training course will be offered March 9-10, 2011, as a convenient prequel to Natural Products Expo West 2011, in Anaheim, CA, and April 4-5, 2011, in Washington, DC, just prior to the OTA Spring Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days.
             
The two-day professional course provides instruction in the seven principles of HACCP and how they relate to organic certification programs, and will teach participants how to write HACCP Plans and implement HACCP in organic food environments.

“With the passage of the recent food safety bill and food safety issues in the news almost daily, it is imperative that organic companies understand the impact of the new legislation and invest time and resources for their employees so they may have a clear understanding of HACCP principles and how they align with organic standards,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s Executive Director.

For more information, visit www.ota.com.

Nutrition Industry Executive News
NOW Foods Develops Rapid Screening to Detect Product Adulteration
Scientists at NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL) have developed a method for screening dietary supplement ingredients for adulteration, giving the industry an important tool to address an increasingly problematic practice by fringe companies. A scientific report describing the method, “Rapid screening test for adulteration in raw materials of dietary supplements,” has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, Vibrational Spectroscopy.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a program to curb this growing problem, with support and assistance of the industry’s trade associations. Testing for adulteration has been difficult, and therefore has not been widely done.

“NOW scientists have devoted considerable resources to developing, validating and publishing a new screening method to detect adulteration of dietary supplement ingredients with erectile dysfunction drugs, weight-loss drugs, or melamine and steroid compounds, which have been reported to be found in products and present a hazard to consumers,” said NOW Foods Technical Director Michael Lelah.

The method, which NOW has shared with the FDA, American Herbal Products Assocation, Natural Products Association, American Botanical Council and National Institutes of Health, utilizes existing equipment and software, is easy-to-use, requires minimal sample preparation, requires limited data interpretation, can be performed by non-technical personnel, has a short run time and is functional across a wide range of raw materials and adulterants. The method requires only 30 seconds grinding in an analytical mill before performing the scan. Including milling the samples, the entire screening process can be performed in less than 10 minutes per sample.

For more information, visit www.nowfoods.com.

Essential Oil Pill Prevents PMS
A pill containing a mix of essential oils has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Researchers writing in BioMed Central’s open access journal Reproductive Health tested the tablets by carrying out a randomized controlled trial in 120 women.

Edilberto Rocha Filho worked with a team of researchers from the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, to conduct the tests. He said, “The administration of 1 or 2g of essential fatty acids to patients with PMS resulted in a significant decrease in symptom scores. Furthermore, the administration of the dietary supplement did not result in any changes in the total cholesterol in the patients evaluated.”

Women who were given capsules containing 2g of a combination of gamma linolenic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, other polyunsaturated acids and vitamin E reported significantly eased PMS symptoms at both three and six months after they began the treatment. Few adverse events were recorded and these were mild, insignificant and did not appear to be directly related to the medication. Speaking about the results, Rocha Filho said, “Essential oil capsules can now be said to show much promise as a treatment.”

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