On the morning of Oct. 6, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall alert for Thumb Oilseed’s soy flour, utilized to manufacture certain human and animal foods, due to salmonella contamination. Four hours later, the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) scanned more than 5,000 products containing more than 1,400 individual ingredients, utilizing data that its members entered into the NASC Adverse-Event Reporting System (NAERS). By using the system, NASC was able to identify a total of 27 products containing soy flour and notify the eight companies selling the products with specific instructions on how to check the ingredient with raw material suppliers. NASC received responses from all eight companies with updates and next steps within the same day.
“Entering products and ingredients into NAERS is required for all NASC members,” says Bill Bookout, president of NASC, the nonprofit industry trade association that represents 90 percent of the animal health supplement industry, dedicated to improving the health and welfare of horses, dogs, cats and other companion animals. “All member products are entered into the system so both products and ingredients can be specifically tracked to individual companies. If there is an issue, we can help specifically identify potential problems directly to the individual product SKUs.”
NASC is the only organization in the animal supplement and food industry and human supplement industry with such a comprehensive and sophisticated adverse-event reporting system. During the 2007 melamine recall, NAERS quickly identified that no NASC member supplement products were affected.
“We are not required by the government to have such a comprehensive adverse-event reporting system or other quality-control systems, but when NASC formed 10 years ago we made this a top priority for our members,” says Bookout. “The risk is not in having the data. The risk is in not having the data.”
After just two years of launching NASC, Bookout and his team had NAERS up and running and after three years had established GMPs (good manufacturing practices), working cooperatively with state, federal and international government officials. In contrast, it has taken 14 years and millions of dollars to establish GMPs for the human dietary supplement industry.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for the animal health supplement industry, but it’s also one of our most important achievements,” says Bookout. “At NASC we believe we should embrace a philosophy of continuous improvement and we constantly strive to improve the quality of animal health supplements sold to consumers for the benefit of their companion animals.”
Since 2002, NASC has been the leader in educating consumers, veterinarians and business partners about credible animal supplement products and companies that have successfully completed facility audits of specific, nationally recognized standards through the Quality Seal Program. The NASC Quality Seal alerts consumers that they are buying from a reputable company that has successfully completed an independent quality audit. For a complete list of NASC member companies, visit www.animalsupplements.org.