NOW Quality Assurance Department
Approximately 5-7 new vendors (suppliers) are approved each month as sources of both new and existing raw materials that are used in making NOW products. The need for new raw materials is to improve the quality, grade, product selection, availability, purity, pricing and consistency of NOW products. We have well over 1,000 vendors supplying packaging, labeling and raw material ingredients. Before samples are submitted to QA, our Purchasing Department compares the vendor’s specifications to our own specifications. NOW has a specification sheet for each raw material ingredient, each formula, and each finished product.
It is crucial that each raw material is examined “through a microscope”, sometimes literally. In some instances, it is immediately determined that a vendor’s specification does not comply with NOW’s requirements just by reading that vendor’s Certificate of Analysis for that material and comparing it to our own detailed Specification Sheet.
The decision to approve a raw material is based on Quality, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Specifications. Quality can be defined as determining that something is what is specified. NOW diligently practices GMP standards; we hold our vendors to the same standard. Whenever manufacturers are following GMPs, that company can controllably produce consistent products. This assurance enhances customer satisfaction since the vendor can stand by the quality of its product. NOW Foods has established standards for each raw material that we purchase. A Company such as ours cannot afford to deviate from these set parameters. The standards are used to consistently produce high quality supplements. QA is responsible for ensuring that our vendors adhere to our stringent standards.
Prior to approving any new raw material, QA must first visually inspect the sample before testing. The sample must have a Certificate of Analysis for us to confirm that what we are receiving matches our specification. Depending on the raw material, various physical and/or analytical tests are performed in our laboratory. Practically all samples must be tested for microbial contamination. If NOW Foods is not capable of performing a certain analytical test, a reputable and approved laboratory will perform this test for us. Once the raw materials have met and exceeded our physical and analytical testing, other departments (Manufacturer & Engineering, Purchasing, Sales, Marketing, and Technical) will review and approve the new raw material. This type of documentation is completed for each of our ingredients to assure the final quality of all NOW products.