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NNFA Puts Teeth into its Quality Standards Compliance Program

October 1998.

Under the leadership of Science and Quality Director Jill Ellis, the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) launched three new quality programs this year. In the past, the NNFA has been criticized for garnering more controversy than results and for failing to enforce its own quality standards.

Compliance with GMP standards

First, compliance with a GMP standard will be required of all supplier members as of January 1st, 1999. Testing of this program is currently underway. According to Ms. Ellis, the majority of their members are on schedule for the January start date.

Enforcement of TruLabel registration program

Secondly, the TruLabel program requires that all supplier products being displayed at the NNFA's annual Marketplace Expo must be registered with the NNFA. Product registration must be accompanied by documentation to substantiate product quality.

In prior years, noncompliance was met with no negative consequences and thus the program was seen as ineffective. However, NNFA officials enforced the program at this year's show, held in San Antonio in July 1998. Every supplier booth at the show was inspected -- and unregistered products were immediately removed from display.

Publication of independent, off-the-shelf testing results

Lastly, independent testing has been stepped up on products that are reported to be inconsistent with their labeling. The NNFA plans to issue a report of products tested off-the-shelf, together with a list of which brands passed and which brands failed.

Testing procedure

When someone claims that a particular brand name product does not contain the substances shown on its label, the NNFA conducts independent off-the-shelf testing of all brands containing that substance. If the results show that a brand does not contain the substances and amounts shown on the label, the NNFA notifies the manufacturer that their product is deficient. The manufacturer is given a time period in which to correct the product's content -- after which the NNFA takes new samples off the shelf and retests.

Publication of results

One of three outcomes will result from this testing:

  1. Brands that pass the initial testing will be listed as having passed.
  2. Brands that fail the second test or for which the manufacturer fails to respond to NNFA's notification of product deficiency will be listed as having failed.
  3. Brands that fail the first test but correct and pass the second test will not be mentioned in the report at all.

If a product is published as having failed to pass TruLabel testing, it is expected that the resultant negative publicity would result in an immediate drop in sales of that brand. Therefore, a high level of compliance is expected.


By adopting and enforcing industry-wide standards for GMPs, quality documentation and registration, and off-the-shelf testing, the NNFA is playing a significant leadership role in establishing robust and reliable quality standards throughout the industry.


National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA).end-of-story




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