Frequently Asked Questions
NASC is a non-profit trade organization comprised of companies committed to providing health supplements and nutritional supplements of the highest quality for companion animals, primarily dogs, cats and horses.
A product intended to support maintenance of normal biological structure and function in animals which are not intended for human consumption, such as dogs, cats and horses. These types of products are also called dosage form animal health products. Joint support products containing glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate or MSM are examples of animal health supplements.
A product intended to provide nutritional value as a component of a complete and balanced diet. Vitamin and mineral products are examples of nutritional supplements.
No. While the ingredients may be similar and the products manufactured in facilities that also make human dietary supplements, animal health supplements are formulated to address the specific requirements of non-human species.
In 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) that provided strict guidelines for the labeling and marketing of human dietary supplements. DSHEA established supplements intended for human consumption as a new class of food for purposes of federal regulation. DSHEA does not allow dietary supplement manufacturers to make overt drug claims, such as cure, prevent, mitigate, treat or diagnose a disease. The legislation did not provide such guidelines for animal health supplements.
Most animal health supplements are considered “drugs of low regulatory priority” and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If the product is intended as a source of minerals and vitamins for a non-human food chain animal (dogs, cats and horses), it is classified as a nutritional or feed supplement and regulated by the FDA and individual state feed control officers through the AAFCO Model Bill. Most states follow the recommendations of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
The goal of NASC is to provide a unified, consistent voice for animal health and nutritional supplement companies, create responsible and nationally consistent labeling and advertising guidelines, and provide consistent quality and production process controls for the industry. Membership is available to industry participants either as a Primary Supplier Member or a Preferred Supplier Member.
- Primary Suppliers – Companies involved in supplying animal health supplements. If your company sells products under your own label as a manufacturer, bottler, labeler, or re-packer, or if you formulate products, you would join this membership category. NASC Primary Suppliers are required to adhere to the NASC’s quality standards, which include submitting to an independent facility audit to ensure compliance with our quality system requirements, and paying monthly dues. Membership as an NASC Primary Supplier is subject to approval by the NASC Board of Directors. [Primary Supplier Membership Application]
- Preferred Suppliers – Companies that wish to provide products and services to NASC Primary Suppliers, including raw materials (ingredients), contract manufacturing (dosage form products and feed supplements), analytical laboratory services, and other services such as insurance, business consulting, legal expertise, etc. would join as a Preferred Supplier. The goal of this program is to prequalify vendors so that NASC members may accept and use Preferred Suppliers’ products and services without having to meet additional vendor qualification procedures required under NASC cGMPs. Companies must qualify to join the Preferred Supplier program, as well as pay annual dues. [Preferred Supplier Membership Application] [Preferred Supplier FAQ]
Members must actively participate in the promotion of animal health supplements as a means to maintain animal health, attend annual meetings and pay monthly dues. Members must agree to adhere to NASC’s quality standards, part of which includes submitting to an independent audit to ensure conformance with quality system requirements. In summary, NASC members must follow the guidelines of the organization and demonstrate a commitment to responsible conduct in the industry.
This program provides strict guidelines for product quality assurance, adverse event reporting and labeling standards. Successful completion of this program allows the member company to display the NASC Quality Seal on their products, websites, product literature and advertisements.
NASC created the Quality Seal as a way for consumers to know that when they buy a product, they buy from a reputable manufacturer. Only NASC member companies operating under the stringent guidelines of NASC for manufacturing, labeling and adverse event reporting, and demonstrating responsible participation are permitted to use the NASC Quality Seal.
An Adverse Event refers to a complaint involving an animal health or nutritional supplement linked to any negative physical effect or health problem that may be connected to or associated with use of the product. Each member is required to investigate and resolve every adverse event. All members must report on a monthly basis whether they have an adverse event or not. This system tracks adverse events by ingredient or product, and also aggregate members’ product sales by SKU. While confidential for all NASC members, the system and information are available to the FDA.
NASC developed label templates and advertising standards in accord with FDA/CVM input with the intent of helping consumers better understand the use of these products in maintaining and promoting the health of animals. NASC members must abide by such guidelines or be subject to fines and expulsion from the organization.
NASC members’ products are available in pet specialty retailers, mass market stores, veterinary clinics and hospitals, and through catalogs and websites. To see those NASC members who have successfully completed the quality audit and may display the NASC Quality Seal, click on this link .
Membership is important to all who promote the use of animal health and nutritional supplements to support animal well-being and vitality. It provides a cohesive and consistent platform from which to address regulatory issues and ensure that these products continue to be available and meet consistent quality standards. Membership ensures a voice in the oft quoted grey area of “supplements – not a drug and not a feed.”
NASC is committed to educating consumers to the benefits of purchasing products that display the NASC Quality Seal through advertising in consumer and trade publications, and public relations.
No, but NASC feels that the seal will help provide consumers a level of confidence that they are purchasing products which comply with quality and labeling standards. Purchasing these products is the best way to support efforts to improve the quality of animal health and nutritional supplements and help ensure their continued availability.
In certain cases, it may. Labels must conform to guidelines established by NASC with input from FDA/CVM and AAFCO.
No, NASC cannot mandate formulation changes unless an ingredient is purported to do harm.