How a group of industry stakeholders joined forces to establish quality standards and secure the future of animal health supplements.
Millions of people give animal health and nutritional supplements to their dogs and cats. Sometimes it’s to address a specific concern, to proactively support good health, or provide targeted nutritional benefits. No matter the reason, supplements can be an important part of your dog or cat’s wellness regimen.
Animal health and nutritional supplements are overseen and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM), and in many cases by individual state regulatory agencies as well. What consumers may not understand is that unlike pharmaceuticals, supplements for animals (and people) do not require FDA approval to be manufactured or sold. There is no law that requires supplements to be evaluated before their release, nor are label claims required to be proven accurate or truthful prior to marketing.
It is only after a supplement is introduced for sale that this all changes. The FDA and state regulators then have legal authority to review the product, its label claims, and any reported adverse events. They can pull a product from shelves if a problem is discovered; the product is not properly labeled; or the company is acting irresponsibly. But even then, dog and cat supplements are typically not a high regulatory priority unless a major issue arises.
Consumers often take it for granted that if a product is available for sale then it is being produced and supported by a responsible company. But sometimes this isn’t the case, and products of questionable quality may reach store shelves. So where does this leave you, and how can you trust products?
This is where the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) comes in. Made up of supplement manufacturers and suppliers who are competitors in everyday life, NASC member companies have banded together to collectively address issues and affect important change, which ultimately elevates the industry and results in better practices, procedures, and products.
NASC members are responsible manufacturers and suppliers of animal health and nutritional supplements, and are committed to quality, vigilance, and embracing a philosophy of continuous improvement within their own companies and the industry at large. The NASC Quality Program provides strict guidelines for product quality assurance in written, consistent raw material sourcing and manufacturing standards, adverse event reporting, and labeling requirements that are within the guidelines provided by the regulatory agencies.
To earn permission to display the NASC Quality Seal on its products and marketing materials, an NASC member company must pass a comprehensive facility audit every two years, maintain ongoing compliance with rigorous NASC quality standards, participate in annual continuing education facilitated by NASC, and pass random independent testing of their products to ensure they are meeting label claims. Consumers can have confidence in products with the NASC Quality Seal because they come from reputable suppliers that meet NASC’s demanding requirements.
No single person or company can change an entire industry. But when a group of companies that represents over 80% of their industry share a vision for a system of transparency, collaboration, and the implementation of best practices, the result is successful self-regulation that bridges the gap between what the law requires and what consumers demand. This benefits the ultimate stakeholders — the millions of dogs and cats that are given supplements by those who want them to live their best lives.
Bill Bookout is president and founder of the National Animal Supplement Council. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the animal health industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences from the University of Wyoming, and a master’s degree from the Pepperdine University Presidents and Key Executives MBA program.