When it comes to dietary supplements, many consumers and healthcare practitioners look for independent oversight from a “third party” –preferably a fully independent outsider not associated with the manufacturer and with the necessary expertise to assess quality.
That’s because since 1994, dietary supplements have been regulated as a category of foods. This means, except for new ingredients, they are presumed to be safe and they do not require FDA approval or review before they are marketed. The dietary supplement manufacturer (not the FDA) is responsible for making sure the supplements they sell are of high quality and safe to consume.
Many supplement companies have excellent quality assurance, but some do not. A growing number of reports and recalls have raised concerns about inconsistent quality in the industry.
With a nearly 200-year history of helping to ensure American drug supply quality, USP is uniquely equipped to verify your dietary supplements.
Instead of just pulling product off shelves and testing them, we work with manufacturers to ensure they have the appropriate quality assurance protocols in place to ensure quality is built into the product.
We meet the company owners, we inspect their manufacturing facilities, we review their files to see where they are sourcing their ingredients, how their supplements are made, what methods they use to test both the ingredients and the final products, and whether those tests are appropriate for the product and capable of identifying harmful contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, and microbes. And finally, we test their products against USP’s public standards.
A supplement successfully meeting our rigorous testing and auditing criteria receives the USP Verified Mark. When you see the Mark, it means the supplement:
- Contains the ingredients listed on the label, in the declared strength and amounts
- Does not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants
- Is made according to FDA and USP Good Manufacturing Practices, using sanitary and well-controlled processes
- Will break down and dissolve within a specified amount of time so the active ingredients can be released and absorbed by the body
But that’s not all. Each year, USP will conduct a facility audit and our own surveillance – pulling product off store shelves and testing them to ensure they continue to meet USP standards.