A supplement registry for regulators

A supplement registry for regulators

The Council for Responsible Nutrition has proposed a registry for supplements that will be initially designed for regulators, with a consumer-facing feature a possible goal for the future.

A voluntary supplement registry hosted by the Council for Responsible nutrition will have no consumer-facing element when it launches, says council President Steve Mister.

Mister proposed the idea at the organization’s Palm Springs retreat last month. The Council’s board voted that day to have staffers explore the issue, and Mister says progress is being made. But the registry will not be designed for consumer access in its initial versions, he says.

The registry will primarily be aimed at regulators who will be able to see what is on the market and which companies are selling those products. “This is not about turning consumer sentiment in the short term,” Mister says. “This is about doing something meaningful that allows the regulators to get an understanding of what is in the marketplace.” The registry could, however, evolve into a consumer accessible tool. Mister says taking the registry to that level would likely involve a significant outreach and education effort.

Consumer access is just one of several features the registry could eventually include, Mister said. Among the possibilities is an expected standard of quality that could one day mean requiring third-party certification or certificates of analysis. Mister says the council board members are not ready to ask for that yet, and that it is important to move forward with a more limited concept that the membership is comfortable with now. “It’s not supposed to be a tool to distinguish the A players from everybody else,” Mister says. “We may get to that point, but we are not there now.”

Council staff is also looking at existing registries, including the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements database and the Underwriters' Laboratory's emerging Clearview program. CRN could still decide that an in-house registry is redundant, or that CRN’s goals could be accomplished in tandem with another program.

Industry response to the proposed CRN registry has been generally positive, Mister says. There is widespread curiosity about what might be included in the final format, but the CRN president says that people he has spoken to accept that this is a voluntary registry with no associated fees would be the first step in an evolving process. “We need to do now what we have consensus to do now, and then we will work on building it as we go.”

That consensus does not include presenting a registry concept to Congress, as some insiders have proposed, Mister says.

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