CRN completed the final quarter of 2022 hosting our signature Science in Session and Now, New, Next annual conferences, releasing topline consumer data from our anticipated annual survey, pushing back on reporting that misrepresents the value of dietary supplements—and much more.
Review highlights of our accomplishments in Q4 as we embark on 2023 and celebrate #50yearsofCRN:
Calling for industry unity on dietary supplement listing as we enter the next Congress
CRN set the record straight about the Dietary Supplement Listing Act, taking to task industry insiders that perpetuated misinformation about what the listing would do and contributed to the missed opportunity to enact the legislation. Despite last-minute efforts to include the proposal in the lame-duck omnibus legislation, lack of industry unity prevented its passage. CRN underscored that the industry has evolved since the 1994 passage of DSHEA, noting when industry works with lawmakers to on reasonable measures that promote transparency, everyone wins—including the industry itself.
- As CRN noted in its first news release of 2023, the calls for supplement listing are here to stay and invited industry stakeholders to exhibit leadership and come to the negotiating table in this next Congress to address their concerns.
Highlighting our commitment to promoting responsibility
Paving the way for 2023’s 50th anniversary celebration, CRN President & CEO Steve Mister reflected on the association’s commitment to promoting responsibility in a bylined article published by NutraIngredients-USA. (See other recently published bylines from CRN’s Jim Griffiths, Ph.D., and Megan Olsen and Daniel Garza.)
Responding to study wrongly comparing supplements to prescription Rosuvastatin
CRN pushed back on the “Supplements, Placebo, or Rosuvastatin (SPORT)” study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in November.
- CRN released a response declaring that SPORT completely misses the point of supplementation by comparing the effects of a prescription drug to dietary supplements in a short-term study.
- CRN wrote to AHA twice: with the first letter pushing back on its handling of the SPORT study; and a second letter pointing to a new study published in JACC, “Micronutrient Supplementation to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk.”
Strategically promoting 'Supplements to Savings' report data
Supplements to Savings data on calcium, vitamin D, and osteoporosis provided opportunities to pitch, highlight, and share these findings on CRN’s social media channels in conjunction with World Vitamin D Day and World Osteoporosis Day. CRN also highlighted data from the report on supplements for heart health in conjunction with its pushback on the SPORT study.
Putting animal studies into context and correcting the record on nicotinamide
CRN called out the University of Missouri for a misleading press release touting a study on the supplementation of nicotinamide riboside (NR) to immunocompromised mice. The University of Missouri responded by updating its original press release. CRN followed up with a broad list of journalists who had reported on the original release to highlight the updates, shed light on why the results are preliminary and not directly applicable to humans, and offer more appropriate studies on NR for consideration.
Leading with new consumer survey data
CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements topline data from the 2022 edition was released, presenting a picture of continuity of a vibrant, mainstream industry, even as overall usage is down slightly from its pandemic peak. The survey, conducted for more 20 years, offers thousands of datapoints that deliver insights not only on consumer usage but attitudes about supplements—their motivation for taking supplements, who they trust for information, purchasing factors, and more.
Defending against state age restriction legislation that would burden the industry and leave purported issues unaddressed
CRN achieved positive outcomes for state age restriction bills that remained in play until the very end of 2022. On Dec. 23, New York Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed NY Senate Bill 16D/Assembly Bill 431C.
- The CRN team, with assistance from the New York footprint members, engaged with lawmakers and the Governor's office to convey concerns about legislation.
- In New Jersey, CRN testified at the Senate Health Committee hearing on Dec. 15 and expressed concerns with legislation (S 2387) as written. The same day, companion legislation (A 3512) was scheduled for a full Assembly vote but was pulled from the calendar and further consideration was postponed. Further, CRN has learned that the legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Budget and Appropriations. This will slow the advancement of the legislation and allow more time for CRN to work with the bill sponsors to address our concerns with the proposal.
- As noted in a statement following the New York veto, similar legislation is expected to resurface across the states and CRN stands ready to work with legislators and in the upcoming sessions to provide industry perspective and technical assistance.
Danny Garza and Cassie Folk in New Jersey.
Pushing back on FDA's overreaching interpretation of the drug preclusion clause
Speaking out against the latest example of drug preclusion over-reach, CRN responded to FDA’s announcement that it believes beta-nicotinamide mononucleotide (β-NMN) is not a legal dietary ingredient. Prior to the release of its Oct. 11 and Nov. 4 letters, the agency had acknowledged a New Dietary Ingredient Notification for β-NMN without objection. Additionally, FDA has not previously raised any concerns publicly about the ingredient being used in dietary supplements. CRN criticized the announcement as perpetuating the uncertainty around the drug preclusion issue and advancing FDA’s course of plucking individual ingredients out of the supplement marketplace without warning. CRN is evaluating further options in response.
Making a difference in the fight against hunger
The CRN Foundation, with member company Plexus Worldwide, presented St. Mary’s food bank in Phoenix with a $10,000 donation following Now, New, Next attendees’ afternoon of on-site volunteering at the world’s oldest food bank. This was the culmination of the first year of the Nutrition Access Task Force’s efforts to drive members to #Act4Access and increase access to nutrition and nutrition education for all.
Educating about the causes and impact of hunger on vulnerable communities and how to help
The Nutrition Access Task Force presented a webinar on “The Impact of Hunger in America.” Keith Miller, M.D., FACS, associate trauma medical director and professor, University of Louisville, and vice-chair of the Kentucky Committee on Trauma discussed the significant disparities in access to nutrition and nutrition education among Americans that are linked to systemic violence and racism. Representatives from Convoy of Hope shared how they are making a difference in these communities—but more engagement is needed.
Providing science-based advice on gummy vitamins
CRN responded to a Wall Street Journal article that mischaracterized adult gummy supplements and vitamins. Later that month, CRN SVP, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Andrea Wong, Ph.D., provided expert commentary for an NBC News story regarding gummy vitamins that aired on the "Today" show.
Presenting cutting-edge updates on precision nutrition
CRN’s Precision Nutrition webinar convened experts from the National Institutes of Health, academia, and industry to discuss this rapidly growing area of health and wellness research. On the webinar, now available on demand for CRN members, experts discussed the interactions between diet, genes, proteins, microbiome, metabolism, and other factors; utilizing AI for algorithm development; the role of consumer questionnaires; and more.
Supporting tomorrow's leading voices in nutrition science
Demonstrating its support of the next generation of nutrition scientists and practitioners, CRN announced the CRN and ASNF Program for Scholars (CAPS) Award honorees hosted at its Science in Session event and mentored by member company leaders from the association’s Senior Scientific Advisory Council.
CAPS awardee Doreen Larvie with mentor Sonia Hartunian-Sowa, DSM Nutritional Products; mentor Yasmeen Nkrumah-Elie, ChromaDex with CAPS awardee Samantha Fessler, Arizona State University; mentor Casey Vanous, Herbalife Nutrition, with CAPS awardee Samiha Azgar, Cornell University.
Activating on international affairs
CRN kept members updated on international affairs through its International Trade and Market Development Committee (ITMDC), spotlighting priority items from India, China, Indonesia, Australia, the EU, and Latin America shared in IADSA’s quarterly NewsFlash.
- On titanium dioxide (TiO2), CRN engaged with the Joint Association E171 Working Group to oppose its EU ban in foods and dietary supplements. In late November the European Union Court of Justice declared that TiO2 should not have been designated a cancer hazard under the EU’s Labeling and Packaging Regulation (CLP), but challenges remain.
- Regarding exports to India, CRN has been working with CRN members and the U.S. FDA’s Office of International Engagement to address additional Foods Standards Safety Administration—India (FSSAI) import requirements. The new requirements relate to the registration and inspection of foreign manufacturing facilities similar to the General Administration Customs—China GACC Decree 248.
Maintaining our commitment to good stewardship
Marc Rucker, MBA, CAE, joined the team as vice president, finance and administration, providing continuity of the good stewardship of the association following the retirement of Sandra Khouri, MBA, after more than 10 years with CRN.
Presenting relevant and inspiring speakers and opportunities to connect with dietary supplement and functional food industry colleagues
- Attendees heard from representatives of the National Institutes of Health/Office of Dietary Supplements Trans-NIH Resilience Working Group, the Department of Defense Consortium for Health and Military Performance, and other experts in scientific research.
- In addition, Dex Hunter-Torricke, former head of Communications at SpaceX, executive communications manager at Facebook, and executive at Google, explained how the next decade will be the most disruptive in human history; Marci Rossell, expert economic forecaster, former CNBC chief economist and co-Host of “Squawk Box,” provided insights presenting an optimistic view as contrasted with chatter about a “recession” akin to 2008; while Margaret Brennan, CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent and “Face the Nation” moderator gave a sobering assessment of the state of politics in the U.S.
Avoid FOMO in 2023
Save the date for our 50th anniversary celebration at this year’s events, taking place Oct. 3–6 at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.