CRN celebrates 40 years championing the dietary supplement industry

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Thursday kicked off a year-long celebration in honor of the association’s 40th anniversary. Created in 1973 by three companies and a single staffer, CRN is today recognized by many, both inside and outside the industry, as the leading trade association representing more than 100 dietary supplement manufacturers, ingredient suppliers and companies that supply services for the supplement industry.

“For 40 years, CRN has been the voice of the dietary supplement industry. We have grown from a small organization to one that, although small in numbers, is large in stature, recognized [as] on par with much larger associations serving other industries,” stated Steve Mister, president and CEO of CRN since 2004. “Our success and longevity is a credit to the leadership from our board of directors, and our member companies who are committed to responsibly manufacturing and marketing high-quality, safe and beneficial products that consumers can trust, and sustaining an industry environment worthy of that trust. As a result, CRN has become a credible and reliable scientific resource for legislators, regulators, scientists, journalists and consumers on all matters related to dietary supplements.”   

The anniversary highlights a long list of accomplishments for CRN on behalf of its member companies and the responsible dietary supplement industry. The association’s highly respected scientific team has long been acknowledged as one of the best in the industry, helping CRN gain a worldwide reputation for producing, promoting and defending “the science behind the supplements.” CRN’s reputation and notable successes extend to lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill, providing leadership to bridge the gap between regulators and industry, fighting globally for regulation based on science-based principles, and executing innovative communications and education efforts.  

During its 40-year history, CRN has been at the forefront of landmark legislation for the industry, playing key roles in the passage of the Vitamin Bill (1976), the Nutrition Labeling Education Act (1990), the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (1994) and the Dietary Supplement and Non-Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Act (2006). This year, CRN will host its 10th annual Day On The Hill to bring members of the supplement industry to the Capitol. Instrumental in establishing the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, the association educates members of Congress about the benefits — both health-related and economic — that the supplement industry provides.

On the regulatory front, CRN was heavily involved in the development of appropriate GMP regulations, working with other associations and the Food and Drug Administration to strike a balance between quality assurance and burden on industry. CRN’s scientific staff regularly publishes in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and is responsible for several authoritative scientific works on dietary supplements including the "Benefits of Nutritional Supplements," authored by Annette Dickinson, first published in 1987 and updated five times, and John Hathcock’s book, "Vitamin and Mineral Safety," which was first published in 1997 and updated in 2004. 

In recent years, CRN has also been a leader internationally, first obtaining official designation as a Non-Governmental Organization eligible to participate actively in Codex Alimentarius meetings and working groups and later forming an international arm of CRN, CRN-International, which recently hosted its third annual conference for international regulators in Germany.

And five years ago, CRN launched the highly acclaimed consumer education campaign “Life…supplemented,” which was awarded the Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil award, the society’s highest honor.