Council for Responsible Nutrition

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Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) is a Washington-based trade association/lobby group that advocates on behalf of supplement-makers. In 2009, it spent $470,000 on lobbying. Its members include ingredient suppliers and manufacturers in the dietary supplement industry, and other entities such as Archer Daniels Midland Company, Bayer Corporation, and Cargill Health & Food Technologies, Cadbury Schweppes, Novartis and Covance Laboratories, Inc., a toxicity testing lab that is controversial for performing tests on animals. CRN advocates self-regulation of the supplement industry.[1][2][3]

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements as a category of food, under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). Under DSHEA, a manufacturer is responsible for determining that the dietary supplements it manufactures or distributes are safe and that any representations or claims made about them are substantiated by adequate evidence to show that they are not false or misleading. [1] CRN advocates for regulation that benefits the supplement industry, as well as self-regulation of the industry. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements, CRN's manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to voluntary guidelines for manufacturing, marketing and CRN’s Code of Ethics.(See SourceWatch article on Voluntary codes.) [4]

Public Relations


In June 2007, CRN announced that it was launching a "multi-year, multi-million dollar public relations campaign -- 'Life...supplemented' -- that focuses on the 150 million+ Americans who take dietary supplements each year." CRN hired the firm CRT/tanaka for the campaign, which a CRN press release called "a first for our industry." [2]

CRN's Judy Blatman explained, "Our industry needed to do a better job defining who we are. Somehow the supplement category has been pegged as 'alternative' when in fact ... with approximately 2/3 of adults in this country taking supplements, we're about as mainstream as you can get." [3]

The first year of the campaign, estimated to cost $1 million, will include "the launch of a microsite dedicated to providing consumers with information on the pillars of a healthy lifestyle and offering a fun, unique online tool to help them get started on their personal wellness regimen," as well as "lifestyle research projects," according to a CRN press release. "Years Two and Three will build upon first-year efforts." [4]

In March 2008, CRN's "Life...supplemented" website was "awarded Gold recognition by the 2007-08 Mercury Awards competition in the category of Web Sites: Health Awareness." The website also "received a perfect score from the judges in the area of 'Overall Success,'" according to a press release. [5]



  • Steven M. Mister, President & CEO
  • Former President, Annette Dickinson, Ph.D. is a part-time consultant to CRN.
  • John Hathcock, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Scientific & International Affairs served as a senior scientist at the FDA.
  • Andrew Shao, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, has an extensive background in human nutrition research and expertise in nutrition policy, and dietary supplement regulatory affairs and product development.
  • Douglas MacKay, N.D., Vice President, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and was a co-owner and practitioner in a family-owned New Hampshire complementary and alternative medicine private practice for seven years.
  • Judy Blatman is Senior Vice President, Communications and has over 20 years experience in the communications field.
  • Mike Greene is Vice President, Government Relations and has more than 20 years of experience working in government relations, public policy, political campaigns and communications.

SourceWatch resources


1828 L Street, NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20036-5114
Phone: (202) 204-7700
Fax: (202) 204-7701

External links


  1. Rita Beamish Wading into fish oil supplement safety, San Francisco Chronicle, March 22, 2010
  2. Council for Responsible Nutrition Our member companies and board of directors Web site, accessed March 23, 2010
  3. Council for Responsible Nutrition Lobbying spending database, accessed March 23, 2010
  4. Council for Responsible Nutrition About Web page, accessed March, 23, 2010
  5. Press release, "Supplement Industry Recognized At the 2007-08 Mercury Awards," Council for Responsible Nutrition, March 20, 2008.
  6. Council for Responsible Nutrition Board, organizational web page, accessed August 15, 2018.