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Educating and Informing the Natural Products Industry
Updated: 1 hour 29 min ago

Dietary Supplements Forum to Address DSHEA 2.0, Influencers, the Biden Admin & More

April 5, 2021 - 6:49am

Washington, D.C.—The unknowns of a new administration, prospects for DSHEA 2.0, the explosion of social media influencers, and a drive towards adopting sustainable and ethical business practices…Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) President and CEO Steve Mister listed these among the key reasons to attend the 9th Annual Legal, Regulatory, and Compliance Forum on Dietary Supplements, produced in collaboration with the American Conference Institute (ACI).

CRN also announced the co-chairs for the event, which is taking place virtually June 8–10. Joining Mister as co-chairs: Scott Bass, Partner and Head, Global Life Sciences at Sidley Austin LLP; Christine Burdick-Bell, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, Pharmavite LLC; and Tara Falsani, General Counsel, Vice President, and Secretary, Nature’s Way.

The conference will address how ever-changing industry regulations impact business decisions and how to develop long-term strategies for steering  companies through regulatory and legal challenges, according to a press release from CRN. The forum is attended by industry executives including in-house and outside counsel, regulatory compliance personnel, quality control specialists, and government relations professionals.

Among the topics on the agenda:

  • The Politics and Policy of Supplements Under the Biden Administration
  • How Mandatory Product Listings with FDA May be the Cornerstone for DSHEA 2.0
  • How the Drug Preclusion Provision can Interfere with the Approval and Marketing of Certain Ingredients – old and new
  • Navigating the Fine Line Between Structure/Function and Health Claims in the Pursuit of First Amendment Rights
  • The Future of Federal and State Enforcement and Consumer Protection in the Supplements Space
  • The Legal and Regulatory Implications of Inconsistent Retailer Third-Party Testing Programs and Quality Standards
  • Sustainability and Ethical Business Practices

“This year’s speaker roster is stacked with top experts from industry, government, and academia,” said Pharmavite’s Burdick-Bell in the release. “In addition to the main symposium, attendees have the opportunity to customize their learning experience through elective workshops.”

The forum also offers workshops. On day two the focus is a claims substantiation working group session that will give attendees a closer look at the use of influencers while balancing FTC guidance, consumer feedback, and emerging forms of social media. Day three looks at international legal and regulatory challenges and considerations, covering strategies that ensure cross-border commercial success, while complying with rules and regulations specific to individual countries.

Early-bird registration is now open; CRN member companies can save 10% o using the code on CRN’s website.

Related: Education Opportunity
On April 21-22, 2021, WholeFoods Magazine and Trust Transparency Center will host our next virtual event in the #NaturallyInformed series: Nutri-Beauty: Mastering the Market. The nutricosmetics and beauty-from-within market is booming as self-care becomes more important to consumers taking charge of their own health. When it comes to the nutri-beauty market, seeing is believing, with consumers expecting visible results. From a perfect smile and smooth, radiant skin to thick, shiny hair and strong nails, consumers want to look and feel their best. During this two-day event, we will bridge the gaps between science and strategy in the beauty-from-within space, bringing together world-class research, business intelligence, and regulatory insights to allow suppliers, brands, retailers, practitioners, and other industry players to master the rapidly developing space. Reserve your spot for this free event, and check out the rest of the 2021 schedule, at www.naturallyinformed.net. Related: #NaturallyInformed: Creating a Happier, Healthier (Successful!) Workplace
ACI Advertising Claims Substantiation Forum Addresses Impact of COVID & More
The Natural View: Talking Certifications & Amazon Compliance

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Sen. Rand Paul Reintroduces HEMP Act

March 31, 2021 - 9:15am

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has continued efforts to address Kentucky hemp farmers’ concerns by reintroducing the Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act of 2021.

“The U.S. hemp industry has had its share of roadblocks, but we continue to push forward and make changes that will help hemp producers thrive,” said Katie Moyer, Owner of Kentucky Hemp Works, in a press release from the Senator’s office. “Senator Paul’s HEMP Act has the potential to improve upon the highest priority issues for hemp growers, processors, and labs, while making sure to keep our consumers safe as well. We are grateful for the continued support from our federal delegation and ask that folks at home call their Congressional representatives to ask for their support.” 

The press release states that the legislation creates “transparency and certainty” by defining a margin of error in hemp testing, amending the definition of “hemp” from 0.3% THC to 1% THC. It requires testing of hemp-derived products, rather than the hemp flower or plant itself. And to prevent legal hemp from being seized during transport, the bill requires that hemp shipments be accompanied by one of two types of documentation.

Related: U.S. Hemp Roundtable States Opposition to “Legal” Hemp-Derived THC
U.S. Hemp Authority Won’t Certify “Hemp” Products Marketed for Intoxication
CHPA’s Fireside Chat with Dr. Scott Gottlieb Covers CBD, COVID

“Senator Rand Paul’s legislation is very timely with the state departments of agriculture’s passing policy that would re-define hemp at one percent,” said Patrick Atagi, Chairman of the National Industrial Hemp Council. “We also are thankful for the Senator’s recognition of the importance of defining hemp in transit. We appreciate his willingness to engage with us and listen to our industry. We believe the HEMP Act is important for consumers and the consumer’s right to know and are proud to support Senator Paul’s efforts. If passed, the HEMP Act will help with the overall economy and providing jobs to Americans.”

“For years, I’ve led the fight in Washington to restore one of Kentucky’s most historically vital crops by legalizing industrial hemp,” Senator Paul concluded. “We achieved a hard-won victory, but there is still work to do to prevent the federal government from weighing down our farmers with unnecessary bureaucratic micromanaging. My legislation will help this growing industry reach its full economic potential, and I am proud the bill has strong support all the way from local Kentucky farmers and activists to national groups.”

The full bill can be read here.

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Whole Foods Market, Headspace Partner to Support Mind & Body Well-Being

March 22, 2021 - 7:03am

Austin, TX—Joyful, energized, focused, relaxed…one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us are looking for more of that in our lives. According to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Whole Foods Market, 85% of respondents would like to take steps to improve their overall  health and happiness. Offering an assist: Whole Foods Market and Headspace, a meditation app, have teamed up on a cross-platform collaboration that includes an IGTV recipe series called Food for Mood, along with meditations focused on mindful shopping, cooking and eating, a one-month free trial of Headspace Plus, and more.

Another consumer priority revealed in the survey: 79% of respondents said they want to learn to eat more mindfully. Whole Foods Market explained in a press release that the alliance with Headspace gives consumers tools to reprioritize physical and mental well-being by tapping into positive moods associated with certain foods.

Consumers can access the program here, and also visit Whole Foods Market’s IGTV page to watch the first episode of an original IGTV series featuring recipes created by chef, food and welfare advocate Sophia Roe, in collaboration with Whole Foods Market, and Dr. Uma Naidoo, a Harvard nutritional psychiatrist, chef and author of This Is Your Brain on Food.

There will be four Food for Mood episodes, rolling out through the end of March, that will feature “mood-brightening recipes inspired by spring’s bounty and feature a fun, food-filled conversation about how we mindfully connect with our food and take time to care for ourselves,” Whole Foods Market explained. Episodes highlight specific ingredients and tips to inspire one of those four positive moods: joyful, energized, focused, and relaxed.

Related: #NaturallyInformed: This is Your Brain on Food with Dr. Uma Naidoo
#NaturallyInformed: Creating a Happier, Healthier (and Successful!) Workplace
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“After a year of dramatically shifting routines and priorities, we know customers are eager to reprioritize well-being, and the beginning of spring is a great time to reset your meals and renew your mind,” said Kylie Bentley, R.D., Team Leader for Nutrition & Compliance at Whole Foods Market, in the release. “Whole Foods Market is a well-known destination for nutritious food that inspires wholesome meals. Now, together with Headspace, we are able to provide exciting tools for mindfulness.”

Eve Lewis, Headspace Director of Meditation, added, “Mindful eating is so much more than just paying attention to our food—it encompasses finding joy and inspiration in our shopping, being present and intentional with our meal preparation, savoring what’s on our plate and developing a greater awareness of how it makes us feel or contributes to our well-being. Our goal at Headspace is to improve the health and happiness of the world, and we’re thrilled to work with Whole Foods Market to spark more inspiration and refresh our mindset around our daily routines and experiences with food.”

Related: To hear more from Dr. Naidoo, don’t miss her keynote presentation addressing the natural products industry at the Naturally Informed virtual event Mental Wellbeing: Mastering the Market, available on demand now

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In Memoriam: Greg Steltenpohl, Califia Farms

March 15, 2021 - 6:40am

Greg Steltenpohl, Founder of Califia Farms and plant-based pioneer, has passed at the age of 67. The company reported the news on social media, posting, “It is with a heavy heart we share the news of the passing of our company’s founder, Greg Steltenpohl. He built the Califia Farms brand from the ground up with a passion for nourishing people and the planet. Greg touched so many lives on his plant-fueled journey to make the world a healthier place. He will be profoundly missed. We tip our hats to our visionary founder.”

Throughout his career, Steltenpohl focused on building mission-based organizational cultures. After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in Environmental Science, Steltenpohl founded Odwalla Inc., which was acquired by Coke in 2001. He also co-founded the Interra Project in 2000, Adina for Life in 2004, and Califia Farms in 2010. His impact on the industry can be seen in his LinkedIn profile, which notes that he has also served on the board of numerous organizations, including Frontier Natural Products and Social Venture Network, and was a long time member of P.A.P.S.A.C. and the Institute of Food Technologists.

On social media, industry members shared the positive influence Steltenpohl had on their careers, on the natural products industry, and on the world in general. He is remembered as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, a leader with great compassion, and a legend in the industry.

Related: In Memoriam: David Mintz, Tofutti

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SupplySide East Postponed, New Dates Announced

March 11, 2021 - 9:21am

Secaucus, NJ—SupplySide East has been postponed to August 24-25, according to a press release.

The event will remain at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, NJ. In the meantime, SupplySide will be hosting a socially distanced pop-up event in Phoenix, AZ, on June 11, to serve the needs of the surrounding community. Those looking to be notified of details can fill out the form on supplyside365.com/supplysidephx. SupplySide West is expected to convene October 25-28 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV.

“We will continue to innovate and adapt as we seek to serve this great industry, and we can’t wait to re-connect in person with so many friends, colleagues and partners,” said Jon Benninger, VP and Market Leader, SupplySide, in the press release. “On behalf of our entire SupplySide and Informa team, thank you for your trust, partnership and encouragement.”

Related: Programmatic Commerce Platform Launches for Food Brands and Retailers
Expo West 2021 Goes Virtual
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More information about SupplySide East 2021 can be found here.

If you’re missing trade show education and the opportunity to connect, WholeFoods has you covered: We’ve partnered with Trust Transparency Center to bring you Naturally Informed, a series of free virtual events that take a deep dive on a given topic over the course of two days, followed by a happy hour allowing you to connect with other attendees. Previous events have covered sustainability, the microbiome, immune support, and mental wellness; all four are available on-demand. Join us April 21-22 for Nutri-Beauty: Mastering the Market, and later in the year for events on active nutrition and healthy aging.

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M&A Update: Vitamin Discount Center Acquired by reCommerce

March 10, 2021 - 6:00am

Deerfield Beach, FL—reCommerce, a Topspin Consumer Partners portfolio company, announced its acquisition of Tampa-based Vitamin Discount Center (VCD),. A press release from reCommerce states that the acquisition helps it strengthen its position as a leading technology-enabled strategic partner to brands selling on Amazon, and expands the expertise and fulfillment capabilities offered to brand partners.

“We’re excited to expand our expertise and services with a partner with such complementary offerings,” said Taylor Hamilton, CEO of reCommerce, in the release. “As brands increasingly explore and grow their e-commerce presence across different marketplaces, reCommerce provides a best-in-class end-to-end solution across all product categories. We’ve found a partner that shares our culture of expertise, drive to deliver the highest level of partner and customer experience, and passion for e-commerce.”

Vitamin Discount Center, a family-owned and operated business founded in 1998, will continue to operate in Tampa. The release noted that Vitamin Discount Center is a leading software-enabled e-commerce seller and B2B services provider in the vitamins, supplements, and health & beauty industries, selling on Amazon, Walmart.com, ebay.com, and other e-commerce platforms as well as providing fulfillment services to support brand partners’ DTC channels.

A separate release from FocalPoint Securities, LLC, which served as exclusive financial advisor to Vitamin Discount Center in connection with the transaction, notes that VDC has been a  third-party seller on Amazon and other e-commerce marketplaces for over a decade, evolving from its early days in traditional retail.

“Over a decade-long relationship, FocalPoint truly understood our business and was able to execute on a comprehensive, but highly efficient process,” said Michael Gore, President of Vitamin Discount Center, in that release.

Clay Bryan, Managing Director at FocalPoint, added, “Michael Gore and the team at VDC have always been innovators in their field, which is evidenced by the proprietary technology enablement the business operates on today and the longevity of their customer relationships. We are thrilled by the partnership with reCommerce and Topspin, and look forward to what the future holds for the combined companies.”

reCommerce offers consumer brands an end-to-end solution on Amazon, “allowing them to capitalize on growing demand and navigate the complexities of the world’s largest online marketplace,” according to the reCommerce release. Topspin invested in reCommerce in May 2020 and has worked in partnership with the reCommerce team to expand the business. When the partnership was announced last year, Leigh Randall, Managing Partner of Topspin, said in a press release, “We have long held a bullish view on the potential of the Amazon marketplace and believe that reCommerce has developed a truly groundbreaking, best-in-class business model for prominent consumer brands that sell through the channel. We are delighted to partner with the team of this outstanding company and believe that our prior experience with branded consumer products and the Amazon platform will help the management team achieve its lofty goals.”


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Federal Judge Enters Permanent Injunction Against NY-Based Supplement Manufacturer

March 4, 2021 - 1:38pm

Silver Spring, MD—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a news release announcing that Judge Edward R. Korman, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, entered an order of permanent injunction against Confidence USA Inc., of Long Island, New York, and two of its executives: Helen Chian, President, and Jim Chao, General Manager and Founder. Confidence USA Inc. has manufactured and distributed more than 50 dietary supplements under brand names that include Confidence USA, American Best, USA Natural, and The Herbal Store, the FDA reported. The company manufactures and distributes these products through Amazon, Walmart, and its own online store.

The permanent injunction requires the defendants to cease manufacturing, holding, or distributing dietary supplements until they hire an independent expert to ensure that they are following the CGMP regulations, and, following an inspection, receive the FDA’s approval to resume operations. Among the violations outlined in the release:

  • The defendants violated the FD&C Act because their products were prepared, packed, or held in violation of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations for dietary supplements.
  • Multiple FDA inspections showed that the defendants repeatedly failed to verify the identity of each dietary ingredient used in the manufacture of their supplements.
  • The defendants failed to verify that their products met specifications for purity, strength, composition, and contamination limits.

“Consumers deserve access to dietary supplements that are manufactured to assure their quality,” said Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D., Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs at the FDA. “If a dietary supplement company repeatedly fails to comply with good manufacturing practice requirements, the public cannot trust that their products are what they say they are. The FDA will continue to protect American consumers by taking appropriate actions necessary when companies violate the law.”

Related: FDA Warns Companies for Mental Health Claims
Transparency: The clear choice for supplement consumers
Testing Conducted by NOW Raises “Profound Concerns” About ALA on Amazon

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IFT21 Transitions to Digital

March 4, 2021 - 6:28am

Chicago, IL—IFT21 is going digital. The Institute of Food Technologies (IFT) will transition the event to a fully digital experience, which will still take place July 19-21. The move is an effort to prioritize the health and safety of participants and community.

“After thoughtful consideration, IFT’s Board of Directors made the decision to transition IFT’s onsite annual event and food expo into a fully digital experience,” said IFT President Noel Anderson, Ph.D., in a press release. “We believe this to be the best and safest course of action in light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic developments.”

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The event has convened annually for 80 years, intended to share trends, ingredients, product solutions, research, and insights. The 2021 digital experience is designed with the same purpose in mind, the press release says, and will allow participants to explore what interests them safely.

“This was not an easy decision for our Board to make, but the health and well-being of our members, partners, colleagues, exhibitors, and attendees is our top priority. We believe a digital experience is the safest option,” said IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean. “We have been planning several new and innovative ways to engage the global food community through a new state-of-the-art platform and are excited to be sharing more information soon.”

Further details will be shared on iftevent.org in the coming weeks.

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Danone to Separate Functions of Chairman and CEO

March 2, 2021 - 6:05am

Paris, France—Danone’s Board of Directors has reviewed the company’s corporate governance and decided to separate the functions of Chairman and CEO, effective upon the appointment of a new CEO, according to a press release.

The review was at the directive of Emmanuel Faber, current Chairman and CEO. The process to recruit a new CEO has been launched; once complete, Faber will focus on his role as Chairman. Until then, the press release says, Faber will “continue as Chairman and CEO, with the full confidence and unanimous support of the Board to exercise full operational responsibility for the company, and to lead the implementation of the adaptation plan Local First.”

Related: Danone Announces Latest Acquisition, 2020 FY Report
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The Board of Directors has made other changes intended to strengthen company governance, the press release says, including appointing Gilles Schnepp as Vice-Chairman together with Cécile Cabanis, and entrusting the responsibilities of Lead Independent Director and Chairman of the Governance Committee to Jean-Michel Severino.

Severino stated in the press release: “It is an honor to become the next Lead Independent Director of Danone. I have served the company and its mission as Board Director for the last ten years as member of the CSR Committee and then Chair of the Audit Committee. I thank the Board for entrusting me with this role, which will be of critical importance in the transition phase we are entering. I also look forward to being in charge of continuing a fruitful dialogue with our shareholders.”

Faber added: “I am pleased we took the governance arrangements that will allow us to anticipate the next phase of development of the truly unique company Danone is, as we open, with our Local First plan, a new step towards the company’s reinvention. I want to thank all our shareholders, my colleagues of the Board, our employees, and social partners who contributed to making these decisions emerge. I am convinced they will make the execution of our plan and our mission much stronger.”

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