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May 2021

Amazon is Cracking Down on Supplement Quality

Amazon is taking some major steps to improve the quality of dietary supplements sold on the platform. Starting May 31, 2021, manufacturers must comply with a new set of rules or their products will be pulled. Here are the key changes.

  1. Dietary supplements sold on Amazon must have a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from an accredited lab confirming that the product actually contains what’s on the label. This is a big step towards better quality control – up until now, manufacturers could sell their products on Amazon without any sort of quality testing. Products certified by certain third-parties, such as USP, NSF and Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG), can use these verifications instead of a CoA. This could ultimately push more manufacturers to apply for third-party verifications – improving the overall quality of dietary supplement products on the market.
  2. The dietary supplement brand owner must provide Amazon with a letter of guarantee confirming that the product was manufactured under current Good Manufacturing Practices. This ensures that manufacturing facilities meet quality standards for cleanliness and operate under a controlled environment. It also requires that facilities are able to consistently meet high-quality standards from batch to batch, and that accurate documentation is maintained. This requirement is already part of some third-party verification programs like USP and NSF – another reason manufacturers might opt to apply for those programs.
  3. In addition to the manufacturing assurances, dietary supplement products cannot contain banned or controlled substances, such as CBD or ingredients on the FDA Advisory List. And concentrations of active ingredients must be safe. Products that have been flagged in an FDA recall, safety alert or warning letter are also prohibited.

These new requirements are likely to shake up the dietary supplement industry overall – Amazon has global reach and is the biggest online retailer for supplement products. Some in the industry are concerned that even more retailers will establish their own set of standards, making it difficult for manufacturers to comply with all. CVS launched their “Tested to be Trusted” program back in 2019. There’s also concern about how Amazon plans to enforce these new rules. Despite these concerns, these changes should help to weed out low-quality products, and improve transparency and safety for consumers. Stay tuned.

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