In Q3 of 2022 the results of CRN member and staff collaboration included an industry award, a “Today” show appearance, and the release of an updated landmark study on health care cost savings associated with the use of specific dietary supplement regimens, just to name a few. Here’s what we are accomplishing together:
The CRN Foundation and Frost & Sullivan released an updated economic report, “Supplements to Savings: U.S. Health Care Cost Savings from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements, 2022–2030.” The full report, as well as individual chapters, are available on a microsite with eye-catching infographics highlighting key data points. CRN’s Communications team will be highlighting various chapters of the report in conjunction with health-related days of national observances. The Government Relations team will leverage the report with Member of Congress, Executive Branch agencies, and other health policy stakeholders to reinforce the need for policies that increase consumer access to dietary supplements.
Staying the course on MPL
CRN led the advocacy and negotiations for mandatory product listing (MPL). Although the FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements (FDASLA) Act (aka “drug user fee reauthorization”) did not ultimately include provisions on dietary supplement MPL, diagnostics, or cosmetics, MPL can still be part of an end-of-year omnibus package. CRN advocacy ranged from Hill meetings to bylines and industry presentations to win support for the legislation.
Holding back age-restrictions in California
Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 134—legislation that would have imposed age restrictions on certain weight-loss products—and gave industry a reprieve for now. He specifically noted “dietary supplements for weight loss are not considered drugs.” CRN worked for more than a year to secure changes to the original proposal to narrow the bill’s scope and protect our members’ legitimate products. As amended during the legislative process, the bill would have required the California Department of Public Health (DPH) to evaluate individually the dietary supplements that would be subject to the restrictions for their potential negative health effects. Ultimately, that burden on DPH was the reason Newsom cited for his veto. Similar age restriction bills were defeated in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
CRN on ‘Today’—changing the conversation for consumers
NBC’s “Today” show tapped CRN’s Dr. Andrea Wong for consumer advice on supplements. Dr. Wong provided balance to comments from Harvard’s Dr. Pieter Cohen about the value of supplementation in Today’s segment covering the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidance on multivitamins report. Additionally, tips for consumers on buying supplements—straight from CRN’s content—were read aloud by NBC senior consumer investigative correspondent Vicky Nguyen during the segment.
- CRN also highlighted findings from COSMOS-Mind, which demonstrated promise for the relationship between multivitamins and cognition.
Calling for clarity, completion of NDI guidance
CRN submitted comments in response to FDA’s draft guidance on new dietary ingredient (NDI) filings and enforcement discretion. CRN noted that Industry has repeatedly implored FDA to address major concerns related to its revised NDI draft guidance issued in August 2016. CRN’s comments asked FDA to “stop putting the NDI cart before the horse.” CRN called for withdrawal of parts of its 2016 NDI draft guidance that are inconsistent with the intent of DSHEA and for creation of an authoritative list of pre-DSHEA dietary ingredients, and a master file system to protect intellectual property.
Additional CRN comments
CRN also submitted comments to the federal docket on the following topics during Q3:
- FDA Proposed Rule; Revocation of Methods of Analysis Regulation
- FDA Draft Guidance for Industry on Conducting Remote Regulatory Assessments
- Office of Dietary Supplements Five-Year Strategic Plan for 2022–2026
Holding FDA accountable for its portrayal of dietary supplements
In addition to responding to Federal Register calls for comments, CRN on its own opened a dialogue with FDA regarding the agency’s “Supplement Your Knowledge” educational materials for consumers, students, and health care professionals and the mischaracterization of dietary supplements throughout its website content in general. CRN submitted detailed feedback on FDA content calling out lopsided emphasis on risk over benefits and a video series for doctors that would discourage honest candid discussions of supplement use with patients. (See summary deck.) Members of the CRN team will meet virtually again with FDA in late October.
Highlighting #Act4Access to fight hunger
An impressive cohort of CRN member companies mobilized to accept the “Chairman’s Challenge” to “Act for Access,” this summer. The challenge closed Sept. 30 with members from AstaReal to Zarbee’s and many more in between sharing about their efforts to fight hunger and help ensure access to good nutrition. This first coordinated call to action from CRN’s Nutrition Access Task Force paved the way for additional opportunities to work collectively on reducing nutrition insecurity and improving nutrition education coming soon.
Proposing solutions to the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
CRN submitted pre-conference recommendations to the White House Conference in July to increase nutrition access, and on the eve of the event, CRN reiterated its calls for attention to better nutrition as well as reducing hunger. CRN offered the following recommendations to help achieve the Conference’s proposed pillars:
- Include multivitamins/mineral supplements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan (SNAP) benefits.
- Ensure adequate resources are allocated to regularly update Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) and establish new DRIs for nutrients and bioactives as needed.
- Develop initiatives to educate about the relationship between nutrition and better health as well as the role dietary supplements can play in filling nutrient gaps.
- Attention to private sector initiatives/partnerships to increase nutrition access.
Creating connections with nutrition influencers—RDs
CRN reached registered dietitians (RDs) with science-backed information about the benefits of dietary supplements during the Shopping for Health event in July, building relationships with this influential community of grocery store dietitians. CRN’s sponsored session highlighted research on the relationship between vitamin D and COVID-19 from our Vitamin D & Me! campaign.
Celebrating the value of vitamin D outreach
The CRN Foundation’s Vitamin D & Me! campaign won the 2022 NutraIngredients-USA Editors Award for Industry Initiative of the Year. CRN associate member Nutrasource was the foundation’s partner for scientific content development. As of July 2022, the Vitamin D & Me! website has tracked and summarized more than 100 clinical studies on vitamin D and COVID-19, with 5.8 million unique visitors.
‘Yes, Dietary Supplements Are Regulated’—over and over again
CRN’s newly-launched blog, “Supplemental,” included a pointed post on how “Media Misinformation is Everyone’s Problem.” At members’ urging, CRN stepped up its routine pushback against the media’s chronic mischaracterization of dietary supplement regulation, safety, and benefits. CRN regularly reaches out directly to journalists to correct misinformation—particularly about dietary supplement regulation. Examples:
- “Not the Final Word”—CRN Responds to Early Reporting on Vitamin D and COVID-19 Studies in the British Medical Journal Sept. 8
- Vitamin D VITAL for Health—Study, Editorial a Disservice to Americans Seeking Better Health July 28
Sports Nutrition Working Group digs in on creatine and weight loss supplements, plus additional industry education
CRN’s Sports Nutrition Working Group hosted members-only webinars featuring scientific experts on the benefits and safety of creatine and the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements for weight loss.
CRN co-hosted the annual Dietary Supplements Regulatory Summit jointly with other industry trade associations, presenting updates and insights on regulatory compliance from FDA officials and industry experts.
CRN presented an industry-wide webinar, “China-ASEAN Supplement Market—Challenges and Opportunities.” CRN convened a slate of experts to discuss changes in regulations, tariffs, technical barriers to trade in China and southeast Asia, providing guidance on how to best engage with countries in the region and break into these markets.
International issues included fish oil and excipients; repercussions stateside
CRN’s International Trade and Market Development Committee kept members updated on potential changes to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Seafood Inspection Program (SIP) “Notice to Industry" about certifications for fish oil dietary supplements.
Despite no evidence that titanium dioxide (TiO2) is harmful, whitening excipient is being targeted due to a lack of sufficient safety evidence. CRN provided members a “Global List of Countries Assessing TiO2 Safety” and is continuing to monitor developments following the EU ban. Consumer watchdogs are now calling for a TiO2 ban in the U.S., with several class actions against companies who use TiO2.
CRN apprised members of new specifications for production of “Sports Nutrition Food” in China, with the "Quality Management Specification for Food Production Enterprises Part 1: Sports Nutrition Food" officially announced and implemented in Q4.
The latest CRN-I symposium proceedings abstracts, addressing topics in "Women’s Health: Optimal Nutrition Throughout the Life Cycle," were published in the "European Journal of Nutrition" and in Q3 were made available in several languages, available on CRN-I’s website.
If you have any questions or concerns about your company’s membership, please let me know. You can reach me at 202-204-7676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
President & CEO
Council for Responsible Nutrition