Council for Responsible Nutrition

crnThe Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) is a trade association that represents dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers.  The association has 90+ members who have all agreed to adhere to voluntary (there’s that word again) guidelines, as well as CRN’s Code of Ethics.  Among the six ethical principles listed in the Code of Ethics is a statement that CRN members “should make only those representations in labeling and advertising that are supported by competent and reliable evidence to substantiate those claims.”

In 2006, CRN joined up with the BBB’s National Advertising Division (NAD) to launch a new initiative to increase monitoring of advertising for dietary supplements.  In 2009, the program was extended for another five years.  Under the extension agreement, CRN will pay NAD $959,000 between November 1, 2009 and October 31, 2014 in order to have stronger monitoring of supplement ads.

This all sounds great, but don’t forget that businesses don’t have to comply with NAD decisions, and the NAD can’t award money to those who have been harmed by a business.

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The National Advertising Division, or NAD, is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD asks advertisers to substantiate or change their claims in advertisements. As part of a voluntary system of self-regulation, however, its recommendations can be ignored by the offending advertisers. In those instances, NAD refers the offender to federal consumer protection agencies.

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