Carol Kriegel founded and is now president of International Marketing Company, a full-service marketing, advertising, public relations and brand management firm specializing in wellness services. International Marketing worked with Citizens for Health and other industry leaders in 1992 to stage the first Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act lobbying day in Washington, D.C.
NFM: You regularly advise herbalists and manufacturers about DSHEA. What must retailers know about the law for stocking, product research and customer education?
CK: Shop owners—whether brick and mortar, online or catalog—need to make sure they share only DSHEA-compliant information with customers. They also must ensure that manufacturer literature marked for retailer education only is not given to customers.
That said, there are plenty of opportunities for retailers to educate customers. Has a manufacturer shared an efficacy study with you? Has a company earned industry recognition for product quality and purity? Is a certain product more expensive because of a superior ingredient? These insider facts can help customers choose the best products for themselves because they are often unaware of how to interpret DSHEA-compliant label claims. For instance, if a product label reads supports immune response and you’ve seen a study that proves its ability to tame inflammation and support joint health, that’s valuable information you can share.
NFM: What else should retailers know about DSHEA compliance?
CK: If you as a retailer blog, post testimonials on a website or do radio shows, your content must comply with DSHEA. Just like your manufacturers, you need to avoid curative claims and speak only about the ability of certain supplements to support, promote or maintain the healthy, normal function of a certain body system or process. That’s the guideline for compliance.