Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has joined forces with the Natural Products Association, GNC and others to create the Supplement Safety & Compliance Initiative (SSCI), according to a Jan. 24 blog post on the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer’s website.
“SSCI brings some of the largest retailers, raw material manufacturers and suppliers, dietary supplement manufacturers and other stakeholders together to assist in strengthening safeguards and helping to ensure regulatory compliance from harvest to retailer shelf,” explained Dadrion Gaston, Walmart’s senior director – health & wellness product & supply chain safety, and the author of the blog post.
“The goal of SSCI is to recognize and help ensure various safety and manufacturing standards provide greater assurance throughout the supply chain,” added Gaston. “Agreeing upon common standards is a critical piece in the initiative and a process that is proven to be effective with enhancing consumer safety.”
Although Walmart's store-brand supplements already require a thrid-party audit and certification, "SSCI will ensure they meet our stringent expectations and a recognized high standard through the supply chain," she noted.
Calling the initiative “a bold step forward for the dietary supplement industry,” Gaston expressed the hope that more retailers and other stakeholders would join the nascent “effort to support the enhancement of the authenticity and safety of dietary supplements, and ultimately improve the health and nutrition of consumers everywhere.”