The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) presented to a Congressional panel the results of a “secret shopper” investigation, which found that in a number of retail establishments visited, the salesperson made inappropriate or illegal claims about dietary supplements.
“The Natural Products Association [NPA] has always made clear through numerous channels including educational materials available on our website, and education at our tradeshow, that if a retail salesperson is misleading customers, offering medical diagnoses, or making drug claims about supplements, then that is a violation of the law – no ifs, ands, or buts,” said John Gay, NPA executive director and CEO. “While the findings of the GAO may be explained by turnover common in the retail sector, or by new retailers entering the market unaware of their obligations; any violation of the law is not acceptable.”
- The NPA has announced an expanded effort to educate and train retailers and their staffs on what can and cannot be said to customers. This effort initially will include the following:
- development of a “tool kit” for retailers to use to train their staffs;
- expanded training programs including live sessions at trade shows, webinars, and teleconferences;
- partnerships with industry media to broaden the reach of educational materials;
- more frequent and regular content on rules for salespeople in NPA publications and communications; and
- development of a dedicated web page with education and training materials to serve salespeople, retailers, and customers.
Through these efforts, along with those of others in the industry, the association can ensure that salespeople know the rules of the road.
About: Natural Products Association
The Natural Products Association (NPA), founded in 1936, is the largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry, representing more than 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids. As the leading voice of the natural products industry, the NPA’s mission is to advocate for the rights of consumers to have access to products that will maintain and improve their health, and for the rights of retailers and suppliers to sell these products. Visit http://www.npainfo.org/.