This month, supplement manufacturers will begin distributing products bearing the United States Pharmacopeia's Dietary Supplement Verification Program mark, a guarantee that the bottle contains exactly what the label claims. The Rockville, Md.-based USP, which has been establishing standards for pharmaceuticals since 1820, launched the DSVP in November 2001 to evaluate supplements' purity and manufacturing processes.
Manufacturers may voluntarily submit products for verification of the amount or strength of ingredients declared on the label, adherence to requirements for limits on potential contaminants, and compliance with USP and proposed U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards for good manufacturing practices. Supplements meeting these standards will be labeled with the DSVP-certification mark and the following statement: "USP has tested and verified the ingredients, product and manufacturing process. USP sets official standards for dietary supplements."
After the supplement is DSVP certified, USP will periodically conduct random off-the-shelf tests to ensure that the product continues to comply with the third-party certifier's standards.
Northridge, Calif.-based Pharmavite Corp.'s Nature Made Vitamin E will be the first product with the DSVP-certification seal to hit shelves. Additional Nature Made supplements, as well as products from Waltham, Mass.-based Inverness Medical Innovations and Salt Lake City-based Weider Nutrition International, are currently going through the approval process.
Neil G. Reay, USP sales and marketing director, said that the new label will help restore confidence in supplements for consumers who are confused by negative press and price differentials. "They have a lot of questions but not a lot of answers. This mark gives consumers the answers," Reay said. "They can trust that the statement on the label is accurate and complete, the product is reviewed by an expert committee that considers it to be reasonably safe, and it is screened for all kinds of contaminants."
For more information, visit www.usp-dsvp.org.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 11/p. 5