First Quarter Report: What has your trade association done for you lately

CRN starts 2021 strong, addressing CBD, probiotics, retailer standards, vitamin D, transparency—and more

by CRN President & CEO Steve Mister    Download PDF

At CRN, we are barely through the first quarter of 2021 and I’m amazed at how much we are already accomplishing on behalf of our members. It seems like this year in particular we are delivering a higher level of service and addressing new issues raised by our members. Let me give you some examples:

  • Last week, we launched our retailer education campaign, Probiotics: What’s Inside is Alive, with the goal of developing better informed retail buyers among our members’ major retail customers to help them better curate the assortment of quality probiotic supplements on their shelves.
  • We convened the Retailer Standards Working Group of our members to address collectively new requirements being imposed by retailers that are duplicative, and sometimes inconsistent, to harmonize those programs around universally accepted quality standards. We have already hosted two webinars on the topic and are working toward consensus to address the problem. CRN has established regular communication with Amazon as well.
  • CRN will launch next month Vitamin D & Me, a collection of new resources highlighting the increasing link between low Vitamin D levels and the severity of COVID-19. This consumer education program is designed to raise the profile of Vitamin D and emerging evidence of the role Vitamin D plays in immune health.
  • CRN aggressively represents dietary supplement interests in the states, recently testifying as a “designated lead opposition witness” to a bill that would impose age restrictions in California, and leading opposition to similar bills in New York and Massachusetts.
  • CRN issued our State Position Statement on CBD, that reiterates the need for a federal regulatory pathway on CBD, but acknowledges that states are impatient to create their own framework in the absence of a clear lead from FDA. We offer ways for states to establish their own requirements that will mimic a federal regime.
  • We began our “Four Things to Know” video series that tackles tough issues—from age restrictions to mandatory listing and retail standards so our members are armed with the arguments and decision points on these policies.
  • We released CRN Insights: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025, a summary of the new federal Dietary Guidelines with analyses of how they impact supplements, nutrient gaps and the needs of special populations. We are proud to have helped shape these new guidelines.
  • CRN staff have authored eight bylines since January, covering topics from probiotics to private equity; the next generation of DSHEA to retailer standards—examples of CRN’s thought leadership for the industry. Here are links to just two of them: Quality is the Price of Entry – Not a Point of Difference; Dietary Supplements Attract Private Equity.
  • We have conducted over 25 virtual meetings with freshman Members of Congress, extending our influence on Capitol Hill, and advancing our legislative goals. Meanwhile, we continue to work on the policies our members care about most: modernization of supplement regulation, mandatory product listing, FSA/HSA coverage for supplements, and a legal pathway for CBD.
  • We relaunched The Supplement OWL, (with a more engaging user experience and easier label entry for participants)—our voluntary registry of supplement labels that serves as a model of self-regulation for the industry, and a template for future mandatory listing by FDA.

Wow, that’s just in the first three months! Infusing all of that, we are reaffirming CRN as the center of innovation, thought leadership and policy development for the dietary supplement industry. CRN is a staff of 20 professionals who start every day with the singular goal of improving the climate for responsible companies to develop, source, manufacture, and market science-backed dietary supplements, functional food, and their ingredients; and a collection of over 180 companies who share that passion.

I’m also providing the link to our 2020 annual report, Essential, that summarizes our accomplishments for our members last year.