Membership

If your company is not already a member of the HFMA, think seriously about joining. You would be a member of by far the most vocal and proactive trade association in the sector, and we have always gone to extraordinary lengths to try to protect our members’ interests. In most situations if we did not do this, nobody would, least of all an individual member company acting in isolation.

10 reasons to join the HFMA

1

Your queries answered – HFMA Secretariat, CLEAR CHECK™ and advisers are at the end of a phone. You have unrestricted and free access to some of the best technical, scientific, regulatory and political advice that you could wish for. And through the HFMA you have access to our counterpart ‘sister’ trade associations in 13 other EU member states.

2

We are constantly fighting for the regulatory ‘rights’ for the existence of the specific ingredient forms, additives and delivery forms that our members use in their products. Our efforts in this area have been critical.

3

At a time when enforcement is stretched, we are keeping a level playing field, ensuring there is a way, through your trade association, to report misleading and unscrupulous competitors that could take sales/market share from you by using unfair or even illegal means. This is happening on a daily basis.

4

We are, on a daily basis, helping our members ensure that their products, adverts and packaging are, and REMAIN, fully compliant with all UK and EU regulations and thereby don’t fall foul of the authorities/TSOs etc.

5

If issues arise:

  • You get an early warning and timely response if anything is raised by a regulator, or something is on the regulatory horizon
  • If the challenge comes to HFMA first it can be potentially headed off before it even reaches the Company (i.e. we act as a buffer to address the problem)
  • In terms of other companies, we have an internal HFMA system (known as UCI – i.e. Unfair and Illegal Competition), whereby member companies are asked to bring concerns to me and in strictest confidence, about other member companies, rather than approach the regulatory and enforcement authorities. We then try to resolve these issues internally
  • We could also be of help with issues such as ASA investigations and rulings
6

We manage the secretariat for All-Party Parliamentary Group on Micronutrients and Health (see: www.micronutrientsappg.org) and this helps us to now be better able to influence events in Westminster.

7

As a member you receive a constant stream of news update, ‘In the News’ and ‘Beyond the News’ bulletins, CLEAR CHECK News and other mailings, have access to an information-packed members-only section of our website, and the opportunity to attend our quarterly technical working groups meetings.

8

We have never been better connected to the regulatory and enforcement authorities on a national or local level. We are better connected now than ever before to the Department of Health, FSA, Regulatory Delivery, Defra, MHRA, Trading Standards Institute etc,

9

Through your membership of the HFMA, you can, at no additional cost, sign up to the Primary Authority Coordinated Partnership with Surrey and Buckinghamshire Trading Standards, and your being part of the PA Partnership provides you with a protective ‘shield’ that you otherwise might not have.

10

We spend a lot of time and effort in being on the lookout for, and handling, the media PR issuesthat always seem to be coming our way. There are countless times when we have been a voice of reason and balance in an otherwise damaging story in the national media.

What the HFMA provides

Information

  • Bulletins: Frequent e-mail and postal alerts direct to your business
  • Website: Information-rich password-protected Members’ section
  • Meetings: Technical Working Group meetings for first-hand expert comment

Education & Advice

  • Events: A regular programme of practical, educational events
  • CLEAR CHECK™: Hundreds of companies each year take specialist, and highly cost-effective, advice from HFMA’s Primary Authority-accredited COPY • LABELLING •EDUCATION • ADVERTISING • REGULATION (CLEAR CHECK) service

Representation

  • Regular dialogue, negotiation and the building of strong relationships with:
    – UK Legislators: Government, MPs
    – EU Legislators: EU Commission; MEPs
    – Regulators: FSA, MHRA, DoH, BEIS, RD
    – Enforcement agencies: FSA, TSI, CAP/ASA
  • Initiatives: other well-considered initiatives – legal opinions, legal action, public petitions etc are used to achieve industry objectives

Service

  • Expert Advice: HFMA Advisers, Secretariat and CLEAR CHECK provide expert advice on a huge range of issues
  • Primary Authority: the HFMA’s members are able to be part of a Coordinated PA Partnership with Bucks & Surrey Trading Standards

Standards

  • The HFMA’s Code of Advertising Practice sets out the regulatory framework for specialist health products, and is administered by the HFMA’s Primary Authority-accredited CLEAR CHECK™ service
  • The HFMA operates three long-standing codes of practice – for GMP, Labelling & Advertising and Upper Safe Levels for Supplements – to ensure that member companies adhere to high standards and offer good quality, safe products to UK consumers

HFMA Resources

  • Advisers: gold-standard Political and Public Affairs, Scientific, and Technical advisers supplement the HFMA’s in-house expertise
  • PR: A specialist Agency and Expert Panel assist with national media
  • Partnerships: The HFMA has membership or partnership arrangements with the UK Herbal Forum, ESSNA (European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance); FPB (Forum of Private Business)
  • International: The HFMA is an active member of the European federation – EHPM – and via EHPM of IADSA (International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations)

Good manufacturing process

It is HFMA policy to require its members to ensure that their products are manufactured according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Each HFMA member company is required, as a condition of membership, to declare that they adhere to GMP principles at relevant stages of manufacture & distribution.

A number of elements of GMP are envisaged by food legislation, particularly with respect to ‘Due Diligence’ to ensure compliance with both safety (e.g. food hygiene, prevention of contamination and other HACCP) and food information provisions (including the labelling, advertising and presentation of food supplements). For food supplements, these ‘food elements’ of GMP are required in addition to the basic principles of pharmaceutical GMP that are appropriate for the production of the dosage forms in which food supplements are usually presented.

For both general food products and food supplements, the HFMA expects all relevant legislation to be met. For food supplements, the HFMA bases its GMP standards on those included in the ‘Quality Guide for food supplements’ published by the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM).

Adverse event reporting

The Food Supplement industry, including many HFMA member companies, is faced with ever increasing demands for proof of safety of its products and ingredients. The HFMA encourages all of its members to adopt an Adverse Event Reporting (AER) system with longer-term intention of this being a condition of membership in the future.

AER software is free to all HFMA members, and is available on request. Any questions or requests for advice on this subject should be directed to the HFMA Secretariat.

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