Natural Products Association

Natural Products Association
Natural Products Association
Natural Products Association Logo.gif
Type Nonprofit
Location Washington, D.C. United States
Key people John Gay, Executive Director and CEO; Jeff Wright, President
Area served United States
Focus Natural Products

The Natural Products Association (formerly the NNFA, or the National Nutritional Foods Association) is the largest and oldest nonprofit organization representing the interests of manufacturers and retailers of the natural products industry, which includes organic and health foods, dietary supplements, natural ingredient cosmetics, and sports nutrition products. The organization includes over 1,900 members accounting for more than 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including food, dietary supplements, and health and beauty aids.


Mission and Vision

According to the association, it serves "as the leading voice of the natural products industry." The Natural Products Association advocates "for the rights of consumers to have access to products that will maintain and improve their health, and for the rights of retailers and suppliers to sell these products." According to NPA's vision statement, "The Natural Products Association strives to achieve a broader, more accessible marketplace for natural products that will improve the quality of life for consumers worldwide." [1]


The Natural Products Association was originally founded in 1936 as the American Health Foods Association (AHFA) to inform consumers about the benefits of the natural nutrition industry. In 1937, the association changed its name to the Natural Health Foods Association (NHFA), representing retailers, manufacturers and distributors. In 1943, NHFA was re-named to the National Dietary Foods Association (NDFA). In 1970, NDFA officially became the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA). The organization renamed itself the Natural Products Association or NPA in June 2006. NPA has grown from a small group of members in 1936 to more than 1,900 in 2010. In 2011, NPA celebrates its 75th anniversary. [2]


The science and quality assurance department at the Natural Products Association oversees the association's third-party certification and industry self-regulatory programs.

Natural Seal

The NPA Natural Seal is the first and only natural certification in the United States. Currently only personal care and home care products and ingredients can be certified. Products certified by NPA must be at least 95 percent natural ingredients or ingredients from natural sources, excluding water. The Natural Seal is awarded to products that achieve the 95 percent science-based standard as certified by independent third-party auditors. NPA certified products use natural ingredients, avoid ingredients with health risks, don’t use animal testing, and include a majority of biodegradable or recycled material in the packaging. Products must list all ingredients on the package label. NPA also requires 100 percent natural fragrances for personal care products. Certified products appear in more than 85,000 stores nationwide. NPA has certified more than 750 products and ingredients since 2008.

GMP Certification

The Natural Products Association launched the first third-party Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) program for the manufacturing of dietary supplements and ingredients in 1999. NPA GMP Certification is awarded to companies that meet a high level of compliance to the NPA GMP standard as verified through comprehensive third-party inspections of facilities and GMP-related documentation. Nearly 70 companies have achieved certification. NPA offers a series of GMP training seminars across the United States each year.


To ensure accuracy, quality and safety in the dietary supplement industry, the Natural Products Association random tests its members through TruLabel, which is a dietary supplement label registration and random-testing program. Participation in TruLabel is a requirement for suppliers who are NPA members. The program helps ensure that products sold in the marketplace are accurately labeled as an ongoing self-regulatory process within the dietary supplement industry.

China Testing

The Natural Products Association offers a program for testing Chinese raw materials for purity and composition. U.S. manufacturers can test the quality of Chinese raw materials prior to shipment. NPA members have access to a database of suppliers' test results for consideration when making contractual decisions.


The Natural Products Association works to protect and advance the common goals of the natural products industry at both the state and federal levels. NPA helps educate members of Congress so they can better understand the industry and the impact of federal legislation and regulations. In addition, NPA provides comments to federal agencies on how regulatory enforcement activities may affect manufacturers, retailers and consumers of natural products and dietary supplements. NPA's regional offices are primarily responsible for monitoring state legislative activity, though the national office leads outreach in California and Hawaii.

Natural Products Day

Each year, NPA hosts Natural Products Day for NPA members and others in the industry to visit Congressional offices and talk to senators, representatives and their staffs about key legislation that may impact the natural products industry. The day begins with an issue briefing and advocacy training session. Attendees then spend the afternoon in meetings with lawmakers and key staff members from their districts and states. The day ends with an evening reception on Capitol Hill for attendees, legislators and staff. At the reception, NPA presents Congressional Champion Awards to selected legislators. [3]

Dietary Supplement Caucus

The Dietary Supplement Caucus (DSC) was launched in 2005 to serve as a bipartisan, bicameral group of members of Congress to facilitate discussions among lawmakers about the benefits of dietary supplements, provide tips and insights for better health and wellness, and promote research into the health care savings provided by dietary supplements. The caucus also brings Congressional attention to the role of supplements in health promotion and disease prevention, and address the regulation of the supplement industry. In 2008, the DSC, in cooperation with the Natural Products Association and the Council for Responsible Nutrition, held its first briefing. The briefings have continued to be held on Capitol Hill. [4]

Member Services

The Natural Products Association represents the industry through advocacy outreach with state and federal regulators and before Congress. The association provides a variety of other benefits for members, including discounts on FedEx shipping, health and product liability insurance, payroll processing, and AER assistance.


The Natural Products Association offers a variety of educational programs and resources for both members and non-members. These include:

  • GMP training seminars for dietary supplement manufacturers about federal GMP requirements, compliance with GMP rules, and how to prepare for regulatory inspections.
  • Labeling seminars covering both mandatory and non-mandatory elements of dietary supplement labeling, including labeling basics and regulations around health claims.
  • The NPA Retailer's Staff Education Toolkit helps store owners educate their sales staff about what may and may not be discussed with customers about dietary supplements.
  • Webinars and conference education sessions on industry topics throughout the year.

NPA members typically receive a special discount off the price of any education session.


Several online publications and email newsletters are currently produced by the Natural Products Association. They include:

  • NPA Now, published six times a year, provides members with important association and industry news.
  • Natural News Update is sent by email weekly, offering the latest news, federal activity, association announcements and research to subscribers.
  • Member Updates keep NPA members informed of breaking news that can affect their businesses and the industry.
  • Federal Focus is sent by email monthly, providing information and alerts about federal and state agencies.
  • Science Matters is sent by email monthly, helping to advance the understanding of natural products from a scientific perspective.
  • The NPA Fact of the Week is emailed to Congressional staffers who handle health issues for their representative or senator, highlighting the latest news, research and trends in dietary supplements and the natural products industry.

Past issues of these publications can be viewed on the NPA website.

Regional Offices

Members of the Natural Products Association may join one of five regional offices. Each region is governed by its own board of directors and the president of each region also sits on the national NPA Board of Directors. Regional offices set their own dues amounts and provide unique benefits and services. [5]

Natural Products Association MarketPlace

Natural Products Association MarketPlace is the official conference and trade show of the Natural Products Association. It is produced by New Hope Natural Media for the natural and healthy products industries. Thousands of industry professionals attend the conference to see the latest new products and trends. The show also features educational sessions with industry experts along with networking events. [6] In 2011, NPA and Bluebonnet Nutrition co-hosted a joint anniversary celebration at the President’s Reception to honor the diamond 75th anniversary for NPA and the platinum 20th anniversary for Bluebonnet. [7] NPA also held its annual business meeting, introducing new NPA President Jeff Wright. [8]


Year Event
1936 Suppliers of natural food ingredients form the American Health Foods Association (AHFA), which, after several name changes, will become the Natural Products Association.
1937 AHFA holds its first convention with 150 people from the health food industry. The association transitions from a consumer group to become the Natural Health Foods Association (NHFA) representing retailers, manufacturers and distributors.
1943 NHFA becomes the National Dietary Foods Association (NDFA).
1969 NDFA merges with the American Dietary Retailers Association.
1970 At the annual convention, NDFA becomes the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA).
1994 Congress passes the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), creating a new framework for regulation of dietary supplements by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
1997 NNFA holds its first annual advocacy event, Natural Products Day, in Washington, D.C.
1999 NNFA launches the first third-party Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification program for the manufacturing of dietary supplements and ingredients.
2006 At the annual convention and trade show, NNFA changes its name to the Natural Products Association (NPA).
2007 NPA launches a raw materials testing program for Chinese products.
2008 NPA launches the Natural Standard and Certification Program for Personal Care Products.
NPA establishes the Natural Products Foundation (NPF), whose mission is to promote and facilitate research and education related to natural products for the benefit of consumers and industry. [9]
2010 NPA launches the Natural Standard and Certification Program for Home Care Products.
NPA grants the 500th certification to products and ingredients under the NPA Natural Seal.

See also


External links

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