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Expo East Round Up

We are back from Expo East and Supply Side West! Thank you to all the members who were able to be present at the CSS member in-person meeting that was held in Baltimore on September 22. 


The meeting was highly attended. Updates were provided on this year's work; questions, discussion and ideas for next steps followed. Our collaboration these past 12 months with the Non-GMO Project has been wonderfully encouraging, culminating in a panel hosted by New Hope Media as a part of the Expo East education. The panel included CSS members Bethany Davis of FoodState and Sara Newmark of New Chapter, CSS consultant Sandy Kepler, and Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project. It was entitled "Supplements Going Non-GMO" and the panel outlined and discussed the white paper that CSS produced last year and the year-long collaboration between CSS and the NGP to resolve the issues that we outlined therein. 


This united position on appropriate Non-GMO standards relating to dietary supplements points to the successful dedication and persistence of CSS and lots of hard work by the Non-GMO Project as well. And it also points towards a productive 2017 as verification pathways are finalized. 


Looking ahead, we are waiting for a final word on whether or not supplements will be included in the scope of the recently-passed GMO labeling bill. Once we are able to confirm their inclusion or exclusion, we will bring that information back to the group. Stay tuned. 


Any CSS members who missed the meeting but would like a more detailed summary of this years progress are encouraged to contact Bethany Davis (bethany@foodstate.com) for more information.


Thank you all for your dedication to the cause!

The CSS Team


Mid Summer Update

Hello CSS!


We have many exciting updates for you today.


We have been continuing our work with the Non-GMO Project and have made great progress on coming into alignment on the issues in our original white paper. In a show of commitment, the Project outlined their plans and commitments to us including timelines in a letter which is being distributed to the CSS membership via email. Each of the items within our white paper are being dealt with. We believe the effort overall will be successful and that the way that the Non-GMO Project's Standard will be interpreted by technical administrators going forward for our industry will make it more viable for more companies. 


We have also had continuing conversations with NSF and iGEN about their emerging programs. Both groups have been open to our comments and have taken our feedback seriously and we are planning to work with them very closely going forward. After we submitted original comments to their first draft, NSF is organizing a teleconference with CSS and other supplement industry stakeholders on their supplement standard at the end of this month. (Details have not yet been announced.) 


The Non-GMO Project has also invited members of our group to be on a panel at Expo East. Bethany Davis from FoodState, Sara Newmark from New Chapter, Sandy Kepler from Non-GMO Global (official consultant to CSS) and Megan Westgate from the Non-GMO Project will be doing a panel together discussion entitled "Vitamins and Supplements Going Non-GMO" and we will discuss the unique difficulties for our supply chain and the value of the work that CSS is doing.  It is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday at 4:15 so mark your calendars! 


We are also going to be having an in-person CSS meeting at Expo East this September. If you are not a currently member of CSS and are interested in becoming one, please reach out at bethany@foodstate.com so that we can let you know the details of that meeting. For members, save the dates will go out shortly. 


We will follow up with more updates as they become available!



CSS Year End Wrap Up

We have officially closed the book on the first full fiscal year for the Coalition for Supplement Sustainability. We have accomplished so much in just a year! 



We had a great turnout for our annual meeting last month at Natural Products Expo West. We have seen both an increase in membership and engagement over the 2015 fiscal year.

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Non-GMO Project Education Continues

Css is continuing to provide ongoing supply chain and ingredient education to the Non-GMO Project. CSS member Deerland Enzymes is scheduled to provide an educational webinar on enzymes directly to the Project's Standard Oversight Committee on February 17th. A subsequent probiotic-focused webinar is being scheduled for later in February by CSS member, Dupont. Top scientific leadership from both firms will be hosting the webinars.


The annual CSS member meeting is being held at Expo West on March 9th from 4-6pm. Details to follow.


Ongoing discussions, education and collaboration between CSS and the Non-GMO Project is expected to last until the end of the first quarter of the year. We are hopeful that the resulting changes to the Standard will be finalized and available shortly thereafter.


Non-GMO Project Progress Report

The CSS Executive Team was able to spend several hours with the entire Non-GMO Project Board including the SOC (Standards Oversight Committee) at their annual retreat last month. We were welcomed warmly and had a very engaging and well-received dialogue. CSS expressed our desire to continue to work with the Project in order to ensure a feasible pathway for dietary supplement verification.  The Project reciprocated that desire and has showed renewed focus and interest in understanding the DS ingredient supply chain.


The CSS Executive Team has been meeting bi-weekly with the Non-GMO Project Team. We are excited to report we are making great progress on many issues. Tools are being created that will specifically aide dietary supplement companies in attempts to gain adequate documentation. We are optimizing communication pathways between the Project, the TA's and our coalition members. And through detailed education of our supply chain, we have been able to discuss changes to the NGP Standard that will ensure feasible pathways for Non-GMO-dedicated companies to gain product verification.


Completed actions:


Clarification of proposed micro exclusion language for use in version 13 of the NGP Standard due for release in January.  Favorable draft revisions include:

  • Allowing for a limited scope of review for micro ingredients which will result in approval without the use of a micro exclusion.  Expected to make compliance with the 0.9% ceiling more achievable.
  • Required micro exclusion usage for substrates and feed is being eliminated.
  • GM enzymes and non-viable microorganisms used as micros can be exempted using a micro exclusion allowance.

Compliance with Synthetic Biology declaration requirements for existing approved ingredients has been delayed. NGP preparing a decision tree which limits the ingredients impacted by this requirement. Technical Administrators are expecting this document mid-January and will implement updates immediately.

NGP has temporarily eliminated the requirement that all nutrients used in supplement products are defining. 

Vitamin manufacturing categories and accompanying process flow charts have been developed and shared with the NGP.

  • NGP has a new appreciation of the complexities of our industry. 
  • These documents demonstrate the low level GM risk involved in manufacturing of supplement nutrients.
  • Will be used as education materials in the upcoming CSS discussions with the NGP SOC.


In Progress:

CSS meetings with SOC to address the more complex issues.  Goals are:

  • Remove stigma that all supplement product nutrients are defining and that all nutrients are GM.
  • Identify compliance pathways by manufacturing category (e.g. fermentation, plant and animal derivatives, non-bio sources, etc.).
  • Achieve a reasonable strategy for Country of origin downgrade to low risk due to regional GM growing moratoriums.
  • Identify reciprocity with other schemes.
  • Provide specific education to facilitate satisfactory compliance pathways for enzymes and probiotics.

Several less complex issues are in stages of resolution by the NGP.  Most are expected to resolve satisfactorily.



Expo West meeting being arranged for CSS members.  We will be meeting on Wednesday March 9th from 4-6pm pacific time in the MegaFood Marriott Suite adjacent to the Anaheim Convention Center. Room number will be announced upon check in. 


NGP continues to commit to working to resolve key issues by Expo.  There will likely be some carry over post Expo West. However, the CSS executive team will continue discussions and education with an additional meeting with the Non-GMO Project Standards Board on Friday during the show.


We will continue to provide updates here as needed. Very encouraging progress overall!