AHPA Board of Trustees adopts trade requirement for “organic” supplements to comply with the NOP

AHPA Board of Trustees adopts trade requirement for “organic” supplements to comply with the NOP

November 2021: Board also amends current caffeine policy

Published: Monday, November 15, 2021

At its most recent meeting on October 26, 2021, the Board of Trustees of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) considered several topics of interest to the AHPA membership and consistent with AHPA’s Mission to promote the responsible and sustainable commerce of herbal products to ensure that consumers have informed access to a wide variety of safe herbal goods.

Chief among the board’s actions was a decision to establish a new trade requirement on the marketing of dietary supplements identified as organic, as follows:

“Dietary supplements marketed in the United States and sold, labeled, or represented with use of the term ‘organic’ are produced and handled in compliance with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).”

“AHPA has engaged with USDA since at least 2005 to attempt to correct what we view as a misinterpretation by the agency of the application of the Organic Foods Production Act to dietary supplements,” commented AHPA’s president, Michael McGuffin. “The AHPA board has clearly expressed its support for protecting the ‘organic’ brand for all foods, including dietary supplements, which federal law defines as a subcategory of food for virtually all purposes.” The AHPA board also authorized further communications with USDA to recommend active enforcement of the NOP regulations for any dietary supplement that identifies the product or its ingredients as organic.

Board-adopted trade requirements serve as amendments to the AHPA Code of Ethics, and conformity to each trade requirement is a condition of membership, with compliance expected 6 months after adoption. The new policy, which applies specifically to dietary supplements labeled as “organic,” is therefore effective on April 26, 2022.

The AHPA board also amended a separate trade requirement on caffeine-containing conventional foods and dietary supplements, originally established in 2005 and revised in 2013 and again in 2015. This policy has included guidance on labeling of caffeine-containing products (unchanged by the recent board action) and a restriction against retail sale of pure caffeine. The latter restriction has now been revised to also apply to highly concentrated caffeine, whether in powder or liquid form. The revised caffeine policy can be found here.

For more information on these or other AHPA policies please contact Robert Marriott, AHPA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs and the staff liaison to the AHPA Standards Committee.

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