Joint initiative to create balanced, transparent, consensus-based standards to strengthen safety and quality and consumer confidence

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Global public health organization NSF International and leaders from major retailers and manufacturers created the Global Retailer and Manufacturer Alliance (GRMA) earlier this year to develop consensus-based standards for dietary supplements, cosmetics/personal care products, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medical devices. Combining retailer and regulatory requirements into a single standard and auditing program for each product category will help reduce audits and costs while strengthening safety, quality and trust throughout the supply chain. The first retailer standard is anticipated to be for dietary supplements and available in early 2015.

The GRMA team, led by quality and safety experts from leading supermarkets, drugstore chains, mass merchandisers and club stores including: Ahold USA, Costco, Daymon Worldwide, Walgreens, Walmart and Wegmans, developed a blueprint to create standardized requirements for each product category. Additionally, utilizing insights from industry experts such as the Council for Responsible Nutrition, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Nutrition Business Journal and NSF International led to the creation of formal ANSI standard notifications, the first step in the standards development process. NSF has a 70-year scientific and technical legacy in conformity assessment, compliance, testing and development of consensus-based standards and is recognized as such by the GRMA.

Working with the retailers and manufacturers in the GRMA as well as regulators and other testing laboratories, NSF will further define a standardized auditing approach focused on consistency, integrity, compliance and quality practices. The standards will utilize relevant regulations as a foundation while also encompassing additional retailer requirements. The applicable regulations will serve as a baseline for each standard including the relevant parts of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act as well as:

  • Dietary supplements: Current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) in Manufacturing, Packaging, Labeling, Holding Operations for Dietary Supplements (Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 111).
  • Cosmetics/personal care products: ISO 22716 and U.S. FDA Cosmetic GMP Guidance encompassing GMPs for the production, control, storage and shipment of cosmetic products.
  • OTC drug products: GMPs in manufacturing, processing, packing or holding of drugs for finished pharmaceuticals (21 CFR 210 & 211).
  • Medical devices: Quality Systems/GMPs for medical devices (21 CFR 820).

“Retailers meet regulatory compliance but are under constant pressure to reduce risk and protect their brands. Our goal at NSF International is to provide rigorous and robust standards to mitigate risk for both retailers and manufacturers while verifying that the highest safety and quality standards are met to increase consumer trust,” said Kevan P. Lawlor, NSF International President and Chief Executive Officer.

As an ANSI accredited third-party standards developer and product certifier for 70 years, NSF International has the technical expertise, industry knowledge and global capabilities to facilitate collaboration and develop standards that address each industry’s quality, safety and compliance needs. This includes a solid infrastructure with leading scientists, accredited chemistry and microbiology labs and former FDA employees. NSF conducts over 200,000 audits annually with auditors trained through the NSF Global Auditor Integrity Program and FDA Auditor Training Documentation.

“NSF International has proven this ability with the development of NSF/ANSI 173 for dietary supplements, an American National Standard that has set the bar of safety and quality in the dietary supplement industry,” said Loren Israelsen, President of the United Natural Products Alliance and internationally recognized dietary supplement expert. “A standard of this rigor and uniformity is what the industry will most benefit from.”

The GRMA is open to all retailers, store brand manufacturers, relevant trade associations and certification bodies. For more information or if you would like to participate in the development of the standards, please contact Casey Coy at GRMA@nsf.org.

Editor’s note: To schedule an interview with an NSF International expert, contact Senior Communications Manager Greta Houlahan at media@nsf.org or +1 734-913-5723.

About NSF International: NSF International is a global independent organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the water, food, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. Operating in more than 155 countries, NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.

NSF has built on its expertise in national standards and protocol development, testing and certification to help ensure the safety and quality of consumer products and appliances used in and around the home. These include nutritional/dietary supplements, over-the-counter drugs, medical devices, cosmetics and personal care products, home appliances, cookware and bakeware, bottled water and beverages and more.