In Memoriam: Allen Skolnick


Allen Skolnick, a pioneer in the nutrition industry, passed away on April 24. Reflecting on this sad news, Richard A. Passwater, Ph.D., science editor of WholeFoods Magazine, stated: "Today, I lost my best friend, but the health food community lost a true champion. Allen Skolnick was more than an industry-changing pioneer."

Passwater says that Skolnick broke new ground in the nutrition world by striving to put science-based supplements on store shelves. "He led efforts to keep industry regulators lawful, and spear-headed Congressional efforts to protect health freedom," Passwater states.

Mr. Skolnick and his late wife Connie owned and operated Solgar Vitamin and Herb. Before owning the company, Skolnick contract manufactured the Solgar line for pharmacist and original owner Nathaniel Colby. He came to Skolnick for help with quality and consistency on a formula, and Skolnick succeeded. The two worked closely together on making formulas, until Colby offered him the business in 1969. The Skolnicks built the Solgar brand into a successful, high-quality supplement line, and founded the Solgar Nutritional research center in 1979. The Skolnicks innovated numerous supplements for nearly 30 years as owners of Solgar. He told The Harness Edge in 2006, "The business suited me perfectly because in all those early years of the dietary supplement busi- ness there was no greed."

He and his wife brought their sons into the family business, including the late Rand Skolnick who later served as the company's president after learning every aspect of the business. 

At the research center, Passwater says Mr. Skolnick sponsored research projects and researchers at several universities in the United States, Canada and Israel. "Even to his last days, he was generously sponsoring biochemical, nanotechnology and cancer research in several universities," Passwater recalls.

Skolnick also did his part on the regulatory front, including helping to stop unlawful actions of the Food and Drug Administration against the health food movement dating back to the 1970s, according to Passwater. He calls Skolnick "a quiet force behind the scenes" that helped in the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. 

Says Passwater, "Allen Skolnick did his best to stay out of the limelight so that he could be most effective. The world has lost a very good man." 

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, June 2013 (online 4/25/13)