How Are You Handling Amazon's New Supplement Labeling Requirements?

In December of 2020, Amazon announced strengthened requirements for the testing and demonstration of dietary supplement quality that sellers on that platform need to provide. This year, the e-commerce platform began requiring comprehensive testing and other documentation above and beyond regulatory compliance. This spring, Amazon's new requirements went into effect. 

The specific requirement that CofAs be provided by an ISO/IEC 17025-accredited lab, an in-house laboratory compliant with (cGMP) per 21 CFR 111 and 117, or evidence of product/ASIN enrollment or participation in certain third-party quality certification programs is viewed by many as being an overly complicated process even for some of the most established brands. Wilson shared:

I agree with the reasons behind Amazon’s new rules but worry about implementation. Amazon’s processes are highly automated, so if your first submission isn’t perfect, you may get trapped in limbo because you can’t find someone to help complete the process. Another great concern is that Amazon is set up as a marketplace, where the listing may not be controlled by the brand owner, who needs access to update information to reflect compliance. Lastly, even if the brand owner can meet all their requirements, the reseller may be selling other items that may not meet the requirements. If they are buying grey market goods or diverting it from other channels, will that behavior impact the brand owner and their listing?

Suzanne Shelton, a long time of partner of Nuherbs, also shared:

Amazon has taken a good first step in managing a category that accounts for a significant amount of the supplements people buy and consume. They deserve kudos, even though they delayed until NOW Foods’ tests revealing rubbish products forced their hand. I hear some manufacturers are panicked about meeting the requirements, which reminds me of when the cGMP requirements were first announced.

Get it together, peeps. You should be able to comply. Requirements to prove identity and potency might stop no-name brands from selling active-ingredient-free knockoffs of expensive supplements—a practice that hurts everyone. Proving quality is essential, but Amazon’s requirements could and should be finetuned by industry input.

They should also develop a database of reputable manufacturers, and when a newcomer launches a product in a high price product category, give them extra scrutiny. An advisory council from the industry would be a significant information resource for Amazon in managing the category better.

Read the full article and other industry opinions here.