Supplements industry asked to police its own

US supplements manufacturers are being urged to report misleading and unsubstantiated advertisements in a Council for Responsible Nutrition campaign backed by major nutrition industry magazines, including Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals.

Scrupulous manufacturers should alert the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus to misleading adverts, the CRN said. The Washington DC-based trade group has provided financial assistance to the NAD to increase its scrutiny of such missives.

"The CRN is partnering with four trade magazines that cover the dietary-supplements industry and share the association's concern that supplements advertising must be truthful and not misleading in order for the supplements industry to maintain and grow its loyal base of customers," the CRN stated. The magazines — Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals, Natural Products Insider, Nutraceuticals World, and Nutritional Outlook — have offered the CRN reduced rates to spread its message.

"The single greatest threat to our industry results from the outrageous claims made by a few companies that consumers associate with the entire category," said CRN president and CEO, Steve Mister. "We're gratified that these four publications have joined us in this effort to help clean up our industry's advertising. Now it's up to individual supplements companies to take action."

Don McLemore, vice president of standards at FF&N publisher, New Hope Natural Media, said Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission regulations are used to evaluate the context of all adverts submitted to New Hope publications, a situation that often leads to potential advertisers looking elsewhere. "If an advertiser's misleading ad is turned down by us, they'll just look for another publication, potentially hurting our business. Hopefully, through the NAD program and the CRN's efforts, more walls will go up for companies making untruthful claims, and the playing field for purchasing ads will be levelled."

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