Last summer’s recordings of retailers improperly—and illegally—discussing supplements with shoppers served as a giant wake-up call to the industry. The tapes captured supplements sellers making unfounded product claims and dispensing medical advice to U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigators disguised as elderly customers, which shined a spotlight on the retailer’s role in complying with Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) regulations.

To address the chasm that exists between supplement manufacturers and supplement purchasers, the Washington, D.C.-based trade association Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) stepped in to promote the importance of educating retailers on supplement regulations. “To be good stewards for our products, we need to work our way down the chain, and retailers are the ones who interface with the ultimate consumer,” said Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO.

The group created the “Roadmap for Retailers: Safely Navigating What You Say About Dietary Supplements,” a six-page booklet includes an easy-to-read primer on DSHEA, a guide to understanding supplement labels, an overview of retailer responsibilities, a chart of do’s and don’ts, and a glossary of key terms. CRN makes the roadmap available for free on its website and will be handing out hard copies at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim this weekend.

Still, understanding all aspects of DSHEA can be tricky, and many retailers have questions surrounding the regulations. Many are looking for guidance on how to effectively train their staffs to accurately and appropriately discuss supplements.

The Natural Products Expo West education session Crossing the Chasm: A Roadmap for Retailers will be an invaluable event for all retailers to attend. The session will feature a roundtable discussion with Mister of CRN; Don Summerfield, cofounder and vice president of integrative medicine at Boulder, Colo.-based Pharmaca; and Ivan Wasserman, partner at law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and a specialist in labeling laws. Anna Soref, editor-in-chief of Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine will moderate. The panel will discuss the history and implications of DSHEA, outline the retailer’s role in supplement discussions and sales, evaluate real-life retail situations and highlight examples of successful training programs. Attendees will receive roadmaps to take with them.

Crossing the Chasm: A Roadmap for Retailers
Friday, March 11
3 p.m.
Supply Network Theater