NASC Taking The High Road

Setting consistent standards and giving companion animal supplement manufacturers a voice.

The NASC, National Animal Supplement Council, is an independent organization with voluntary membership which is devoted to the quality and safety of supplements for companion animals.

The NASC focuses on supplements for companion animals that will not be entering the food chain

In their own words, “NASC’s overriding goal is to promote the health and well-being of non-human food chain animals that are given animal health supplements by their owners, and to protect and enhance the integrity of the animal health product industry.”

The NASC was born 20 years ago in the midst of turmoil over the very unsettled regulatory status for animal supplements. As far as the FDA and federal law is concerned, anything an animal consumes is either a feed or a drug. Feeds may only contain the usual basic feed ingredients like grains or hays, plus added vitamins and minerals which have been proven to be important dietary nutrients for the species.

For example, horses can manufacture their own vitamin C so that would not be an approved feed ingredient for horses. Similarly, things like glucosamine and chondroitin are not approved ingredients. Any non-feed ingredient is automatically a drug and required to fulfill all the requirements/testing for a drug.

The situation was the same for humans until passage of the DSHEA – Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act – in 1994.  The DSHEA established the category of non-food supplements and set standards for manufacturing, labeling, advertising claims and suspected adverse reaction reporting. Problem was, the DSHEA did not mention animals and the Center for Veterinary Medicine in 1996 took the official position that DSHEA does not apply to animal supplements.

At present it has been estimated there are about 400 ingredients in companion animal supplements that do not fit criteria for feed and are therefore legally adulterants or unapproved new animal drugs. Every product with even one non-feed ingredient is technically vulnerable to FDA or state regulatory action.

The NASC was formed to help fill the gap between federal legislation and owners’ desire for safe, quality supplements for their dogs, cats and horses. NASC members must follow established manufacturing guidelines including quality of ingredients, labeling and advertising standards mimicking DSHEA and must pass periodic site inspections.

Mike Uckele, President and CEO of Uckele Health & Nutrition is a founding member and serving on the Board of Directors of the NASC.

NASC approval carries no legal weight but it does guarantee the customer the product has met a high standard. The NASC also serves its membership by providing guidance for labeling and advertising, a library of useful ingredient information and by serving as a communication bridge between the industry and regulatory officials.

Support these efforts by looking for the NASC quality seal.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

About Dr. Kellon

Graduate of University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School. Owner of Equine Nutritional Solutions,, industry and private nutritional consultations, online nutritional courses. Staff Veterinary Expert at Uckele Health and Nutrition .
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