Horse Supplement Science:
Do you ever wonder?
How you can be sure that the product you are feeding is safe and that it contains the ingredients at the levels claimed on the label, or that the ingredients can be absorbed into the bloodstream?
These questions about horse supplement products and the scientific solutions to them have been at the core of our approach to our business since the day we opened our doors. Unlike other manufacturers who simply state they have amazing products – we have the experience, reputation, and scientific evidence to back it up. We are an open book and we encourage you, if you have any doubts, to contact us and we can send you copies of numerous documents validating our claim, supported by third parties such the FDA and the U.S.D.A. or Department of Agriculture.
Grand Meadows is widely recognized within our industry for being the driving force in bringing transparency and accountability to the animal health supplement industry. In 1999, we formed the NAESM (National Association of Equine Supplement Manufacturers) with the express purpose of trying to introduce standards to an industry that basically had none. At that time there was little or no interest from other manufacturers who were content with the status quo of non-existent regulatory oversight. In 2001, with the very real threat of regulatory action against the whole industry, Grand Meadows became a founding member of the NASC (National Animal Supplement Council). Learn more at www.nasc.cc.
After that meeting a very small group of companies, Grand Meadows being the only horse supplement manufacturer present, came together and developed a plan called Compliance Plus. This was a broad based plan to engage with the FDA and AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) and to develop a strict set of guidelines covering labeling, marketing claims and manufacturing processes. Grand Meadows President, Nick Hartog, has sat on the Board of Directors of the NASC since its inception. Now the NASC Seal on products is increasingly becoming an absolute requirement in the United States when horse and pet owners are making decisions on which supplement to purchase.
Commitment to Excellence
We take manufacturing of our supplements seriously and we hope this page will explain the importance we place in each step of the manufacturing process to insure your confidence that when you buy any Grand Meadows product they are safe and effective.
The first step is using the highest grade, best quality raw materials that follow strict NASC guidelines and that also comply with FDA regulations.
Then we submit samples of raw materials and finished product to one of three US laboratories approved by the NASC for secondary testing in addition to the original manufacture’s certificate of analysis. This insures the purity of the product will be free of any toxins or false additives and the finished product matches the accuracy of the label guarantee.
After the raw materials have passed FDA approved independent lab tests and are compliant with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), endorsed by the NASC, we are then ready to start the actual manufacturing process. This year alone, the FDA found manufacturing violations in over half of nutritional manufacturing facilities inspected and one in four companies were issued a FDA warning and fine.
The final blending of ingredients is paramount and requires sophisticated equipment to insure that the formula is consistent from the first scoop in the bucket to the last. We have quality control checks at multiple stages in the manufacturing process that meet and exceed all GMP requirements. These checks and standards guarantee that our products meet label specification and comply with FDA manufacturing regulations and insure safe and effective finished product. Grand Meadows product returns on an annual basis are less than one percent and we have a consistent record with the highest scores for excellence in manufacturing.
Our formulas are based on proven research conducted by nutritionists and scientists worldwide. Our team is constantly reviewing research updates to see if there are improvements we can make to our formulas or ideas for new products.
Beyond The NASC
In recent months, there have been widespread reports of Salmonella infestation, particularly in dog treats. Grand Meadows has a strict microbiological testing program in place where batch samples are submitted prior to shipment to our facility. In the event of a positive test result, we have not had to quarantine product at our facility with the associated risk of cross contamination.
The vast majority of nutritional ingredients available to the supplement industry are produced in China and for many people the recent memory of the dog food scandal where wheat gluten was spiked with melamine causing many deaths, makes this a scary concept. At Grand Meadows, we have written into our standard operating procedures that each batch of finished product must be submitted for testing at a U.S. lab approved by the NASC prior to our distribution of that particular batch.
Starting in 2000, the FDACS or Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, responding to complaints from consumers, started a program of random testing of products to see if they matched label claim. We have letters from the Florida Department of Agriculture that prove Grand Meadows products matched claims exactly fifteen years in a row.
International Expansion & Audits
In our efforts to expand our business internationally we were required by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection service to have our facility audited by the FDA. Our score was 96.7%.
In our last NASC audit, which we passed with an “A” rating, in the closing paragraph the auditor wrote the following comments, “During the detailed inspection, it is apparent that Grand Meadows will provide quality products to animal owners. I was provided complete access and was free to examine any and all processes and operations involved in the company’s scope of business during the audit. Grand Meadows Nutritional Products, Inc. is committed to the growth and quality of the companion animal supplement industry while demonstrating a level of professionalism that other NASC member companies should aspire to attain.” – Ryan Cargo Senior Compliance Officer, NASC.
We have recently introduced, in cooperation with our material suppliers, a batch monitoring system where a UPC code off a finished product can be scanned by a smartphone. This provides the lot number of every ingredient, the production date and any other necessary material facts instantly anywhere in the world.
So, the next time you are reading the same old claims about using the finest ingredients, latest manufacturing equipment etc., take a moment, call the company and ask for some independent proof of their claims. This supplement marketplace is more than saturated with literally dozens of products within each category. To us, and we hope to you, the most important knowledge to have when trying to make a decision about which product to buy is: Is the product safe? Can I trust the manufacturer? Does the product contain what is claimed on the label? Having tested dozens of competitor products over the years, only to find huge gaps between label claim and actual ingredient levels, these questions are the most important for you and your animals.