Retailers Increase Partnership with Animal Supplement Council

Leading retailers that sell animal health supplements 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 animals.

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 short-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 (which is called a stop sale)," says 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 retailers 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. The NASC seal can be found on many of the equine supplements being sold in the United States.

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 like glucosamine and chondroitin used for joint health are not FDA-approved for use in animal feed products and might 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 passed by 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," says Bookout. "When no one else in the industry took action our members did on behalf of these animals, and because of our efforts many of these products are available to them today. Ultimately, the collective actions of our members will benefit everyone in the industry."

NASC initiated 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 to maintain the availability of these products at retail.

More information can be found at the NASC website.

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