AHPA, QAI release organic supplements guidance

Industry guidance helps dietary supplement manufacturers understand compliance requirements of the organic market.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), a national trade association that promotes the responsible commerce of herbal products, and QAI (Quality Assurance International), a leading certifier of organic and gluten-free products, released Guidance on Formulation and Marketing of Organic Dietary Supplements Under the National Organic Program(NOP).

This guidance document discusses the types of supplements that are eligible for organic certification under the NOP. It provides an overview of the organic and manufacturing rules that must be met from the farm to the packaged product.

The market for products cultivated, processed and labeled as organic in accordance with the NOP has grown steadily over the last few years, based on consumer demand for products that are natural and free from harmful chemicals and pesticides. U.S. sales of organic dietary supplements were reported at $739 million in 2011, an increase of 8.5 percent over the prior year. In addition, U.S. equivalency agreements with Canada and the European Union, which allow trade of organic products with few restrictions, are creating market and sourcing opportunities for organic dietary supplements.

The guidance document also highlights what is involved with the organic certification process, common organic certification issues for dietary supplement manufacturers, production methods for allowed ingredients, and technical additives and processing aids. 

 "Our goal is to educate the dietary supplements industry with an easy-to-understand overview of organic certification that explains how the NOP food-based requirements apply to dietary supplement products and ingredients," said QAI General Manager Jaclyn Bowen. "Our experts truly understand the in-depth rules of organic compliance needed to meet NOP regulations, and can guide companies as they develop and market organically-labeled dietary supplements in the U.S." 

"We created this resource to help the herbal supplements industry take advantage of the growing demand for organic products," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "The herbal and botanical supplement industry faces a number of unique challenges that should be considered when deciding whether to enter the organic marketplace. AHPA's role as the voice of the herbal products industry and QAI's 23 years of experience in organic certification position them perfectly to provide guidance specifically tailored to supplement companies that want to formulate and market organic products." 

NOP regulations were developed for the food industry as a result of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. Dietary supplement products that contain agricultural products grown and processed in accordance with the NOP may also be identified as organic. This includes products and ingredients such as raw agricultural herbs, herbal teas, extracts (powdered, liquid or dry), vitamins, minerals, tablets and capsules (hard-shell or soft-gelatin). 

Depending on the percentage of organic content and production methods, products may bear the USDA organic seal and state the product is "100 percent organic" or "organic," state the product is made with specific organic ingredients, or list certified organic ingredients on the ingredient panel. The QAI and AHPA guidance document details the requirements for each of these labeling options and provides examples of dietary supplements most likely to qualify for each category. 

To download a free copy of the resource, Guidance on Formulation and Marketing of Organic Dietary Supplements Under the National Organic Program, click here. No personal information is required for the download. 



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