Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the National Animal Supplement Council?
A. 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.
Q. What is an animal health supplement?
A. 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.
Q. What is a nutritional or feed supplement?
A. 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.
Q. Are animal health supplements the same as those for people?
A. 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.
Q. How are animal health supplements regulated?
A. 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).
Q. Why was NASC formed? Who can join?
A. 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 Associate Member. A Primary Supplier Member must be a manufacturer, formulator, bottler, labeler, re-packer or raw material supplier. An Associate Member must be involved in selling or distributing these products as a distributor, dealer, retailer, or internet or catalog company. A complete list of NASC members is available on the following link .
Q. What are the requirements of NASC membership as a Primary Supplier?
A. 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.
Q. What are the NASC Quality System Requirements?
A. 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.
Q. What does quality assurance mean?
A. 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.
Q. What is the Adverse Event Reporting System?
A. 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.
Q. What are labeling standards?
A. 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.
Q. Where can I purchase products with the NASC Seal of Quality?
A. 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 the following link .
Q. Why is membership important to a Dealer? Distributor? Customer?
A. 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.”
Q. How will a consumer know what the NASC Seal of Quality means when comparing and purchasing products?
A. 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.
Q. Does the NASC Seal of Quality guarantee increased sales?
A. 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.
Q. Does displaying the NASC Seal of Quality on product labels cause a change to product labeling?
A. In certain cases, it may. Labels must conform to guidelines established by NASC with input from FDA/CVM and AAFCO.
Q. In order to conform to NASC, do members have to change their formulas?
A. No, NASC cannot mandate formulation changes unless an ingredient is purported to do harm.