NPA Questions FDA’s Lack of Guidance for Dietary Supplements

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Washington, D.C.—In comments made to the FDA, the Natural Products Association (NPA) questioned why the Agency’s draft guidance for food labeling serving sizes does not provide examples for dietary supplements, according to a press release. The NPA  took issue with the fact that no examples were provided for dietary supplements carrying Supplement Facts labels, whether in pill form, liquid form or chewing gum form.

“This guidance is at odds with President Trump’s commitment to streamlining federal regulations,” Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., president and CEO of NPA, said in the release. “The guidance looks like it was composed by the Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling without input from the Office of Dietary Supplements. The final food labeling rules apply to both conventional food and dietary supplements, and the draft guidance should as well.”

Dr. Fabricant pointed out that consumers expect products to be labeled clearly and accurately, and said the NPA would help ensure this. “NPA looks forward to working with the FDA to produce clear, streamlined labeling requirements for consumers.”

As the NPA explained in the release, labeling of serving sizes for dietary supplements and conventional foods differ in subtle–yet very key–ways, so the draft guidance should provide examples for dietary supplement products. Examples provide guidance to the natural products industry, the NPA noted, and in failing to include any, the draft guidance provides nothing useful for dietary supplement manufacturers and labelers. One example outlined by the NPA: Serving sizes for dietary supplements are based upon a maximum amount consumed per eating occasion, while the serving size for conventional foods is based on the amount of food typically eaten in one sitting for that food.

The FDA also, according to the press release, only discusses “beverages,” a term which does not apply to liquid supplements, and only discusses chewing gums with Nutrition Facts labels, not dietary supplement chewing gums with Supplement Facts labels.

The NPA’s detailed explanation of these and other points can be found on their website.

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