DSHEA at 20: Law was a landmark for Europe, too

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Joerg Gruenwald, a longtime natural products industry consultant, said the advent of DSHEA was a huge event in Europe as well as America.  It helped give European dietary supplement companies secure access to the biggest market in the world.

In speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at the Vitafoods trade show that took place recently in Geneva, Switzerland, Gruenwald lauded the open, innovative market that DSHEA has created.  Prior to DSHEA, no one knew what they could legally say in the United States about dietary supplement products, and much of the data that some pioneering European herbal product manufacturers had collected on their ingredients, particularly on the part of German firms, was in effect suspended in limbo.  After DSHEA, with a firm groundwork established, European firms could forge ahead.

Gruenwald, a principal in the Berlin-based firm Analyze and Realize, did note a few caveats. For one, European firms were not prepared for the avalanche of investment that came into the North American market after DSHEA was put into place. That investment push created a speed of innovation and a short product cycle milieu that caught the long-established European firms unawares.  A corollary to that freewheeling market was a, shall we say, ethically-flexible approach to borrowing science. North American marketers have not been shy in pushing the benefits of their ingredients based on work done by other companies, and this approach has left a few hard feelings on the part of the European firms that laid much of the groundwork for the efficacy of botanical ingredients, Gruenwald said.

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