This Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) Membership Approval and Review Policy, adopted by the CRN Board of Directors on September 30, 2021, applies to all new voting member applicants. In addition, existing CRN members are subject to the same standards, requirements, and procedures as outlined in this Policy.
New Applicant Review
- CRN staff, together with CRN’s outside legal counsel, shall conduct a review of each new voting member application, which shall include a reasonable review of the following types of sources for the purpose of determining any clear non-compliance with applicable laws or regulations:
- the applicant’s on-product labeling;
- the applicant’s website(s), including any sites for the company or individual brands marketed by the company;
- promotional print or digital materials obtained during the application process;
- any social media portals, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and similar sites (if linked to an applicant’s website or identified on the new member application), and retail portals, that are under the control of the applicant;
- regulatory and self-regulatory databases, documents, and other resources, such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warning letters, FDA inspection documents (e.g., 483 notices), FTC settlements, other FDA enforcement actions, state attorney general enforcement actions, National Advertising Division (NAD) cases, and similar material; and
- online searches, as necessary and appropriate, using as search terms the company’s name, its dietary supplement(s) and/or functional food product(s) brand name(s), or ingredient brand name(s) (in the case of ingredient suppliers).
- Such reasonable review shall include a review of a representative sample of the applicant’s labeling, web pages, and social media portals, prioritizing the products and ingredients that are likely to be of potential risk or regulatory concern. This review is not intended to identify all noncompliance, but rather to provide the Board of Directors with certain information regarding the applicant’s understanding and respect for applicable regulatory requirements, legal risks, and safety considerations, such that the applicant genuinely would be able to commit to CRN’s Code of Ethical Conduct in good faith.
- Particular attention will be given to any information relating to recent or current government regulatory and self-regulatory actions (e.g., NAD, Direct Selling Association (DSA)/Better Business Bureau (BBB) Self-Regulatory Council actions) involving the company, recent or current criminal charges naming the company or its principal executives, recent or current civil litigation, and outstanding judgements.
- In the event that an applicant is found to have been in clear violation of any applicable laws or regulations, CRN staff will endeavor to communicate with the applicant to determine if the cause for such violation has been remediated.
- CRN staff will report a summary of its findings to the CRN Executive Committee and the Board of Directors before or during a scheduled Board or Executive Committee meeting during which that applicant will be considered. Executive Committee Members and Directors who wish to request additional information or detail are required to request such information from CRN staff.
- In the event that CRN staff is made aware of a membership compliance issue regarding an existing CRN Member, staff will communicate such issues to the member and work with the member to remediate the issues. Failure to remediate the issue will subject an existing member to disciplinary actions pursuant to the CRN Bylaws.
Executive Committee and Board of Directors Deliberation
- Deliberations shall be limited to only that information provided by CRN staff and CRN outside counsel prior to or at the meeting during which an applicant is discussed.
- The Executive Committee and/or Board of Directors shall consider whether the report from CRN staff and outside counsel includes clear, objective, and ongoing violations of applicable laws or regulations, particularly after repeated discussion with CRN representatives. In that case, the Executive Committee and/or Board of Directors shall reject the application for membership or defer approval of the application pending further review and discussion with the applicant.