The group will focus on establishing non-GMO standards for the supplements industry.
MegaFood has always loved the way that real feels. For the past 40 years, we have held ourselves to the highest standard when it comes to the fruits and vegetables in our supplement products. MegaFood is one of the only whole-food supplements companies that controls its production from farm to tablet, working directly with family farms to source only the best non-GMO and often organic produce and botanicals for our whole-food supplements. Because we are so passionate about our quality standards, we started the Non-GMO Dietary Supplement Working Group two years ago. This group was initially founded with a vision to secure a non-GMO ingredient supply chain in the supplements industry. The group consists of like-minded companies collaborating to investigate the questions that non-GMO ingredient sourcing and documentation initiatives pose for the supplements industry.
We’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to figuring out what third-party non-GMO standards should look like for supplements and how companies should comply, but we wanted to take it a step further. We’ve decided to formalize our group, give it a new name, and move towards an industry consensus of what the non-GMO standard should be for dietary supplements. We also want to look beyond GMOs and make sure the group can take on even more issues at large for our industry. As such, our new name, The Coalition for Supplement Sustainability, represents who we are: a new and improved trade association specifically for the supplements industry.
Why do we exist? The Coalition for Supplement Sustainability is a member-driven trade association of the dietary supplement industry, established to maintain sustainable, independently verifiable and transparent standards across the entire supplement supply chain.
As members, we recognize that we will not agree on all matters and that we often compete for customers, but we are taking this opportunity to raise the bar for our industry and avoid collective risk-something that will only happen through a cooperative effort. We are a vetting mechanism for the industry, and while we do not lobby state or federal government, we do inform other associations and retailers on our recommendations and approaches.
One of our biggest initiatives and more near-term goals for the coalition is to collaborate with third-party verifiers to create a credible non-GMO standard specifically for dietary supplements. Our hope is that this will be a toolkit for supplement companies worldwide that are looking to make their products non-GMO verified.
With the existence of the Non-GMO Project Verified seal already on the market, you might wonder why we feel a standard is needed just for dietary supplements. The fact of the matter is that the standard that the Non-GMO Project uses primarily meets the needs of the food industry, whose products differ inherently from supplements. For instance, a bag of corn chips might consist of four or five food ingredients; however, more complex products like dietary supplements, which often comprise dozens of ingredients, demand an industry-tailored solution. The Non-GMO Verified seal isn’t currently a feasible certification scheme for many dietary supplements and supplement ingredients such as vitamin D3 derived from sheep’s wool. Supplement manufacturers who care deeply about the issues and who are committed to non-GMO would be well served with a certification regime that meets their unique needs.
Beyond GMO issues, our larger goals will also include having members collaborate to review proposed third-party verification standards across all aspects of the supply chain with the goal of creating a common consensus rooted in the application of international best-practices, validated testing, and reliable scientific methods.
We want to hear from everyone. All dietary supplement brands and ingredient manufacturers can become members of the coalition and participate in member meetings to help drive clarity and consensus on these issues. As a coalition, we want to keep the dialogue open and come to an agreement on what the standard for non-GMO verification should be across the supplements industry.
To learn more about The Coalition for Supplement Sustainability, please visit www.supplementsustainability.org.
Bethany Davis is the director of regulatory affairs for FoodState and MegaFood products. She is the chief administrative and communications officer for The Coalition for Supplement Sustainability, a group of supplement and ingredient companies that united to support a non-GMO and sustainable supply chain. With a background in pharmaceuticals, Davis was drawn to the natural products industry and is deeply engaged with the non-GMO topic. She holds a master’s degree in regulatory affairs and health policy from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston and is a voting board member of the Massachusetts General Hospital Partners Institutional Review Board.