Legislative Updates

Legislative Contacts

Senator Dick Durbin                                                Senator Mark Kirk
309 Hart Senate Bldg                                                 387 Russell Senate Office

Washington, DC  20510                                             Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-2152                                              Phone: (202) 224-2854

                                      

11th District Representative                                  13th District Representative
 Adam Kinzinger                                                      Judy Biggert

2801 Black Rd., Suite                                                6262 S. Route 83, Suite 305

Joliet, Il  60435                                                            Willowbrook, IL  60527

 Phone:  (815) 726-4998                                            Phone: (630) 655-2052


More 'all-natural' blues for Kashi as Florida judge allows GMO/all-natural class action to proceed
FoodNavigator-USA.com
Just months after Kashi agreed to settle a California class action lawsuit accusing it of deceptively advertising its wares as "all-natural," a judge has allowed most claims in a similar class action brought in Florida to proceed.

 


POTUS Acts to Save Honey Bees, Launches Pollinator Health Task Force   

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/20/1308404/-POTUS-Acts-to-Save-Honey-Bees-Launches-Pollinator-Health-Task-Force


Illinois: Tell the EPA to ban bee-killing pesticides   

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/illinois-tell-the-epa?source=s.em.mt&r_by=5139279
 




How the Massive Beef Recall Could Be a Chance to Reform Industry 

From the meaty stuffing in Hot Pockets to grass-fed beef, millions of pounds were affected.

February 25, 2014 By Clare Leschin-Hoar

 A cloud of mystery still hangs over the closure earlier this month of Northern California’s only slaughterhouse.

Since mid-January, three recalls have been made on meat processed at the Rancho Feeding Corp. facility in Petaluma. The USDA says meat from the facility was unfit for human consumption and that diseased and unsound animals were processed without the full benefit of federal inspection. A lot of meat was affected, including some used in Hot Pockets, the favored snack of latchkey kids and basement dwellers.

Is a New Policy Behind USDA's Recall of 8.7 Million Pounds of Beef?

So far, more than 8.7 million pounds have been recalled. While the USDA says there have been no reports of illness linked to the meat, that’s just about all it's saying.

What prompted the action? Was it E. coli? Mad cow disease? Were USDA inspectors not on-site or compromised in some way?

Bill Marler, a food safety attorney in Seattle, says it may never be known because much of the meat has already been distributed.

“It’s everywhere—hell, it’s in Hot Pockets. What they’re trying to do is claw back as much of it as possible because there’s a risk that it came from a diseased, unsound animal,” says Marler.

The recall was sparked in January by an unknown product before being expanded, Marler says.

"Clearly they have looked at more and said there’s a bigger problem here, recalled it back to a full year, and then called investigators,” he continued.

While plenty of the meat ended up in products like Hot Pockets or was sold at national supermarkets such as Kroger or Walmart, the slaughter facility had also been used by small grass-fed-beef producers, who say they aren’t getting important information from the USDA on what prompted the recall or whether they’ll be able to sell any meat that had been processed at the Petaluma plant.

Many small ranchers worry the plant’s closure and recall will put them out of business, or they're bracing for a painful financial hit. Even Bill Niman, owner of BN Ranch, is caught up in the recall. Niman slaughtered 426 cattle at Rancho Feeding Corp. last year. Much of that meat, which is still stocked in his freezers, is now considered condemned by the USDA.

The Fight for the Image: Who Gets to Define the Meat Industry?

Another meat producer, LeftCoast Grassfed published an open letter to American Grassfed Association members on Friday. In it, it wrote, “At this point, we don’t have any information from the USDA about what happened.”

“The recent incident at Rancho leaves ranchers struggling to understand why the beef we all spent years carefully

raising in order to assure its wholesomeness and safety has been recalled, especially when there has not been a single report of illness or incident to justify these measures,” the letter reads.

It’s unlikely that LeftCoast and other ranchers hungry for information will be

The crisis could spur the right kind of thinking among powerful people, but Dimock worries that the push to find long-term solutions to lack of capacity in the meat processing system won't go far enough.

“There needs to be alternatives,” he says. “We need policy makers and business leaders to make sure the grass-fed meat and small-scale ranching industry doesn’t sputter out."

February 10, 2014 By Willy Blackmore 

 

Nearly 9 million pounds of beef processed by Rancho Feeding Corp. in Petaluma, Calif., were recalled by the United States Department of Agriculture over the weekend. Wholesalers and retail establishments in California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas stocked the suspect meat.

In a press release issued on Saturday, the Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said the 8,742,700 pounds of beef were being recalled because the company “processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection.”

The Fight for the Image: Who Gets to Define the Meat Industry?

While the weight figure—representing just over a year’s worth of beef products from the company—is certainly headline grabbing, the reason the USDA offered for initiating the recall is what Farm Sanctuary’s Gene Baur finds most intriguing. The founder of the animal rights group said, “The USDA in the past has explicitly said that diseased animals can be used for food.”

This despite the human health risks, such as those associated with mad cow disease, that can result from eating diseased animals. “I would like to hope that this is a new, stronger standard” regarding diseased animals entering the food chain, Baur said, but he thinks the lack of inspection at Rancho Feed Corp. played a major role in the decision. “It’s still common and legal for diseased animals to go into the food supply,” he said.

Ironically, according to the FSIS release, the uninspected products somehow bear the USDA mark of inspection. The recalled beef can be identified by the “EST. 527” present in the seal.

Despite Baur's second, more cautious explanation, this recall falls into Class I on USDA's risk scale, which is defined as a situation “where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.” The press release states unequivocally that “the products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce,” suggesting that the "diseased and unsound" animals, and the health risks they may present, did factor into the decision. No illnesses have been reported as yet.

 

Creatine shows promise in Huntington disease

Creatine shows promise in Huntington disease

Tuesday, February 11, 2014. A trial conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital has uncovered a benefit for creatine in delaying the symptoms of the inherited neurodegenerative disorder known as Huntington disease in asymptomatic adults. Mutation of a gene that expresses the huntingtin protein interferes with energy production, depleting adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and damaging the brain. Creatine, an over-the-counter nutritional supplement, aids in the restoration of ATP and the maintenance of cellular energy. The findings will be published in the March 11, 2014 issue of the journal Neurology.

The trial included 109 men and women with a family history of Huntington disease, some of whom were aware of carrying a mutated form of the gene that causes the disease. The trial design permitted subjects to enroll without being informed of their status. In addition to 19 participants who were aware of carrying the disease mutation, 26 of the 45 additional subjects were identified by the researchers as carriers. "More than 90 percent of those in the United States who know they are at risk for Huntington disease because of their family history have abstained from genetic testing, often because they fear discrimination or don't want to face the stress and anxiety of knowing they are destined to develop such a devastating disease," commented lead author Herminia Diana Rosas, MD, of the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease. "Many of these individuals would still like to help find treatments, and this trial design allows them to participate while respecting their autonomy, their right not to know their personal genetic information."

Read This News

 

What's Hot

Fisetin shows promise in Huntington disease experiments

What's Hot

 

Researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, Irvine report the discovery of the ability of the compound fisetin to slow disease progression and reduce premature death in experimental models of Huntington disease, a neurodegenerative disorder. The findings were published online on October 15, 2010 in Human Molecular Genetics.

Salk Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory senior staff scientist Pamela Maher, PhD and her associates had previously found that fisetin, which occurs in vegetables and fruit such as strawberries, activates the Ras/ERK pathway, which is important in brain development and cognition, and is less active in Huntington disease. Administration of fisetin to cultured nerve cells that expressed a form of the huntingtin protein which is mutated in Huntington disease resulted in the survival of cells whose numbers would have otherwise been diminished by half within a few days.

In another experiment, fruit flies that overexpressed mutant huntingtin protein in brain neurons, which reduces life span and causes defective eye development, regained their normal life span and had less eye defects after consuming fisetin. A third experiment in a mouse model of Huntington disease found a 30 percent increase in life span and a delay in motor defects in animals that received fisetin. Further research by the team revealed a similar benefit for resveratrol, a polyphenol related to fisetin. "Fisetin, resveratrol and related compounds might be useful for the treatment of Huntington disease by virtue of their unique ability to activate ERK," the authors conclude.

Dr Maher noted that in Huntington disease "Cells are damaged and dying before there are overt symptoms. If patients know they have the mutation, then they could potentially start treatment before the start showing symptoms, which might be more effective than waiting for the symptoms to appear, as many do now."




Godiva: Protect cocoa workers and West African children by going Fair Trade
 
Godiva, the 85-year-old premium chocolatier, is a company on the rise.  Acquired by the Turkish conglomorateYildiz Holding in 2007, the company enjoyed sales of more than $500 million.  This year, Godiva CEO Jim Goldman says the company is on track to achieve sales of more than $765 million, thanks in part to rapid product expansion in recent years, including new Godiva chocolate bars in supermarkets, and new Godiva-coated products like pretzels and Oreos. But one thing that hasn't changed in recent years is Godiva's failure to protect vulnerable workers at the beginning of its supply chain.  While other high- end chocolate companies use third-party certification to ensure that their products aren't tainted with child slave labor and the exploitation of cocoa-producing communities, Godiva does not. The company insists that it requires its suppliers "to be in compliance with labor laws," and donates some of its growing profits to organizations providing charitable work in cocoa-producing nations, but these efforts are no substitute for actually building a fair supply chain.  For this reason, we are urging Godiva to go Fair Trade.  No West African child should be forced to endure grueling cocoa-field labor for low or no pay so that American children can enjoy Godiva-coated Oreos.

Monsanto GMO Update    

On Election Day, Washington's GMO labeling ballot initiative came up just short—garnering 49% of the vote in a low turnout election.1 We didn't know for sure until now because of how long it takes to count mail-in ballots in Washington. Monsanto's late-September multimillion-dollar negative ads helped depress voter turnout and made this one of the most expensive ballot initiative fights in Washington's history.2

More than 400 MoveOn members from across the country volunteered to make phone calls with the Yes on 522 campaign. Members across the state knocked on doors, shared videos, and talked to their friends and neighbors about why consumers have a right to know what's in their food. Rest assured, this won't be the last fight we wage against Monsanto on GMO labeling.

Earlier this year, MoveOn members in more than 40 states campaigned for new GMO labeling laws. Thanks to that work alongside progressive allies, more than 20 states will be considering GMO labeling laws in 2014. And leaders in Washington are already talking about getting this initiative back on the ballot in 2016, when higher turnout should make for a more favorable climate.3 

So let's take the lesson from this setback in Washington—that corporations will spend mountains of money to buy elections—to motivate leaders and donors across the country to win on GMO labeling. We did it in Connecticut, we did it in Maine, and you can help do it in other states next year.

Click here to launch a campaign for GMO labeling in Illinois.

Thanks for all you did to support GMO labeling this year, and for what you'll do going forward.

–Garlin, David, Jessica, Eric, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. "I-522 trails in all but 4 counties," The Seattle Times, November 5, 2013 
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=295070&id=78062-23525235-c9BYbnx&t=2

2. "Washington state voters reject labeling of GMO foods," USA Today, November 6, 2013  
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=295071&id=78062-23525235-c9BYbnx&t=3

3. "Food-labeling supporters say fight is moving to statehouses," The Seattle Times, November 6, 2013  
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=295072&id=78062-23525235-c9BYbnx&t=4


Success! The Monsanto Protection Act Has Been Repealed—This Time for Good!   

http://www.anh-usa.org/monsanto-protection-act-has-been-repealed/
 

Bill S.1425 Hangs in the Balance

Dick Durbin’s destructive Dietary Supplement Labeling Act awaits review.

September 27, 2013

Senator Dick Durbin’s latest attack on nutritional supplements—the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act—sits waiting to be unleashed on your health freedom. Durbin’s bill, also known as S.1425, has been assigned to a Congressional committee. That committee will review S.1425 and make a decision on whether or not the bill should proceed to the Senate.

This means that right now we have a window of opportunity to send a strong message on Durbin’s S.1425. With a loud outcry to our elected officials in Congress, we can nip S.1425 in the bud. If we make enough noise, perhaps we can stop Dick Durbin—and his repeated attacks on your health freedom—once and for all.

Falling in Line
We must stop this destructive bill now, because S.1425 may be picking up steam with some influential agencies. For example, Consumers Union (affiliated with Consumer Reports, a notorious supplement-basher), has issued a statement of endorsement for S.1425. Consumers Union’s statement justifies its support of S.1425 by saying “ ... numerous ingredients found in a variety of supplements... pose significant dangers to consumers.” And with that vague, baseless statement, it becomes abundantly clear that Consumers Union has cheerfully fallen in line with Durbin’s wrong-headed thinking.

Back here in reality, there are actual facts that show nutritional supplements have a legendary track record of safety. Over 180 million people take nutritional supplements every day. Yes, there are a “variety of supplements” with “numerous ingredients.” But these supplements and ingredients are overwhelmingly safe!

Early analysis of adverse event reporting suggested that one out of every 303,000 people taking supplements experiences a significant adverse event. Without proof of causality, the real number of events may be even smaller. So where exactly are the “significant dangers to consumers” that Consumers Union cites?

Think for Yourself
What about you? Have you ever had an adverse event from a nutritional supplement? How about your friends? Or family? Ask around, and you will see truth and reality: Supplements are safe. In his Dietary Supplement Labeling Act, Durbin appears to be fabricating a supplement threat that simply does not exist. But the scary part is that if enough people buy into Durbin’s fiction, it will be treated as fact—and the safe, natural nutritional supplements that have been enhancing your life for years might be ripped out of your hands forever.

Go to
www.govtrack.us and type in S.1425, and see for yourself exactly what this bill says. In the full text, you will see the possibility of FDA regulatory chains wrapping around your health freedom and starting to tighten. You will see language about the Institute of Medicine evaluating and judging nutritional supplements’ safety—even though the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) has already established that medicine and supplements must be treated as separate. You will see section after section of draconian measures that will entangle the nutritional supplement industry and bring it crashing down, stopping all of the life-enhancing natural health innovations on the horizon.

Put the Bill to Bed
It’s time to tell Dick Durbin that enough is enough! Durbin’s destructive S.1425 bill now hangs in the balance. Let’s join together and tip this bill into oblivion. Contact your local Congressperson today and tell him or her that you do not want Durbin’s Dietary Supplement Labeling Act S.1425 to move forward by another inch. Ask them to quash S.1425 today!


New Bill Says Doctor Can't Give You an IV Vitamin or Mineral if Not in Unrelated Drug!   

September 27, 2013

A likely-to-pass federal bill with a new and dangerous provision may be voted upon this weekend, and we need your help to amend it!

The Senate compounding bill we have been telling you about has now been scrapped because of the outcry from consumers like you. That is the good news. They started over from scratch.

Here’s the bad news. They slipped in a new and very bad provision. This provision  says that your doctor can only order a vitamin or mineral or other nutrient IV if the ingredients are  already pre-approved or in some unrelated, synthetic, and FDA approved drug. This is outrageous.

More bad news. The same bill will likely be voted on in the House right after the Senate without changes.

IVs (nutrients injected into your veins) are very, very important for natural medicine. Please don’t let them make some really important compounded IV medications illegal! Someone you love may desperately need them.

Please read more about this terrible provision on our website, and take action immediately! 
 

 Take-Action1
 

P.S.: The Senate has just passed the Continuing Resolution without the Monsanto Rider! This is a tremendous victory—and is entirely thanks to your support. Let's now get this new threat dropped from the compounding bill!


Durbin, Blumenthal Reintroduce Supplement Labeling Bill    
August 2, 2013 By Josh Long 0 Comments
Posted in News, Legislation, Government, Label Claims, Labeling, Adverse Event Reporting (AERs), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)
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WASHINGTON—A bill that has been reintroduced by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) would require manufacturers of dietary supplements to register their products with FDA and furnish a description of each product, its ingredients and a copy of the label. Manufacturers also would be required to notify FDA if they removed a product from the market.
First introduced in June 2011, the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act is designed, in part, to provide consumers with more information about the potential risks of dietary supplements and empower FDA with the authority to demand documentation verifying claims on labels are backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
"The bill I am introducing today with Sen. Blumenthal builds on the work we have done in the past with common-sense steps to make sure supplement risks are printed on the label, products are registered with FDA, and manufacturers can back up their big claims," Durbin said Thursday in a statement.
Durbin and Blumenthal contend recent reports by USA TODAY and "Rock Center with Brian Williams" have shown a dearth of information on dietary supplements that are on store shelves. Some lawmakers and other critics argue supplements are under regulated because the products do not require pre-approval from FDA before they land on store shelves and the Internet, with labels touting myriad health benefits that may conceal dangerous side effects.
Structure/Function Claims
The Dietary Supplement Labeling Act would give FDA the authority to require manufacturers, upon request, to submit documentation to support structure and function claims on their labels. FDA explains that such claims "describe the role of a nutrient or dietary ingredient intended to affect normal structure or function in humans, for example, 'calcium builds strong bones.'" Supplement firms are prohibited from making claims that they can treat diseases such as osteoporosis.
Under current federal law, manufacturers must notify FDA about their structure/function claims within 30 days after introducing a supplement into the market, and certify that such claims are substantiated with competent and reliable scientific evidence. But the agency doesn't have the authority to compel a manufacturer to submit substantiation documents upon request, according to a government report published in October 2012. In the report, the Office of Inspector General within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended that FDA seek explicit statutory authority to review substantiation to determine whether structure/function claims are truthful and not misleading.
Marc Ullman, a New York-based dietary supplement lawyer, said FTC already has the authority to require firms to submit substantiation documents in support of their structure/function claims, but he acknowledged it is "less clear how FDA would get at it."
Warnings on Labels
The American Herbal Products Association (APHA) explained the legislation further directs HHS "to coordinate with the Institute of Medicine [IOM] to compile a list of dietary supplement ingredients that could cause potentially serious adverse events, drug

interactions, contraindications or potential risks to subgroups such as children and pregnant or breastfeeding women." (FDA is a part of HHS). If a proprietary blend contains such an ingredient, supplement firms would be required to disclose the weight per serving of that ingredient on the label.

Warnings on labels would be required if ingredients posed the risks noted by AHPA. The legislation also would require that batch numbers are included on each supplement label in a move designed to help FDA identify and recall dangerous products.

The proposed warnings are unnecessary, Ullman declared, because supplement companies already must include directions for use to ensure that a product is safe.

"So, if there is a population that shouldn't be using it like pregnant or nursing women, you are supposed to put that information on your product label," he said.

Food v. Supplement

AHPA noted the legislation also would require the HHS to define the term "conventional food." Durbin and Blumenthal want to more clearly distinguish conventional foods from dietary supplements since the two categories are subject to different federal regulations.

The senators maintain some energy drink companies have subjected themselves to dietary supplement regulations in order to skirt more onerous food regulations. But attorneys who practice dietary supplement law point out some meaningful regulations—including a 2006 law (Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act) requiring that dietary supplement firms submit such "serious adverse events" as death and hospitalization in connection with their products—don't apply to conventional foods.

Justin Prochnow, a Colorado-based dietary supplement lawyer, said the legislation is basically asking for "FDA to apply tougher enforcement and declare some products that are labeled as supplements to really be food or beverage."

Merits of Legislation Debated

Amy Gadhia, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, indicated the legislation could result in safer supplements.

"Many supplements may be safe and healthful, but there are numerous ingredients found in a variety of supplements that pose significant dangers to consumers.  This bill would mean stronger requirements for manufacturers to deliver safe products and better labels with more information for consumers," she said in a statement.

Others representing supplement companies argue the bill will impose additional burdens on legitimate, law-abiding companies without restraining firms that are violating current regulations.

"Without robust enforcement, companies who look for loopholes and disregard their legal obligations will continue to ignore new requirements," said Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), in a statement. "Rather than creating new laws, our industry needs a renewed commitment from Congress to provide FDA with additional funding and resources so the agency can use the ample enforcement tools already at its disposal to take aim at companies that do not comply with the regulations currently in place to protect consumers."

Tamara Ward, a spokesperson for FDA, did not respond to a request for comment on the legislation.


NPA Announces Support for Federal GMO Labeling Legislation     

The Natural Products Association (NPA) Board of Directors today announced that it has endorsed the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients so consumers can make educated decisions about foods they buy. By endorsing the bill, NPA becomes the first and largest natural products industry trade association to back the legislation, giving it crucial support as Americans continue to call for stronger GMO labeling.

This decision is the result of careful deliberation by the NPA Board of Directors, and reflects the associations's guiding principles for GMO labeling, adopted on March 19, 2013.


“Supporting this legislation is the next logical step for the Natural Products Association,” said

NPA Executive Director and CEO John Shaw. “In the last few months, the association has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring consumers know what’s in their food. We feel strongly that this bill is in line with our guiding principles on GMO labeling, and that it will lead the country on the path toward transparency that Americans are demanding.”

NPA’s endorsement of the bill comes just three months after the association called for all foods containing genetically modified organisms to be accurately labeled under a national uniform standard. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., in April. Co-sponsors of the bill include Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

For more information about NPA and its position on GMOs, visit the NPA website.

Compounding Pharmacy Bill: Third Draft, Still Some Major Problems—and No Time to Lose!  

http://www.anh-usa.org/compounding-pharmacy-bill-third-draft-still-some-major-problems—and-no-time-to-lose/

Breaking News-Requiring Genetically Engendered Foods to be Labeled  

http://www.wholefoodsmagazine.com/news/breaking-news/washington-consider-federal-gmo-labeling-bill/WF7771234

Take Action! YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

     

Members of Congress listen to what you say. Each time they are contacted it represents 1,000 voices. Are you concerned with healthcare in this country? Continue to check out our website.  We will keep you up to date on all current legislation.  Together we can make your voice heard and create change! 

Girl in Hospital eatingOrganic Standards in Danger—Unless You Make Your Voice Heard

       

http://www.anh-usa.org/organic-standards-in-danger-unless-you-make-your-voice-heard

Girl in Hospital eating

Dietitians Using Medicare Reform to Monopolize Hospital Nutrition Services

Source: anh-usa.org

It won’t help hospital food, already notoriously bad, to outlaw advice from the most qualified nutritionists. Action Alert!

http://www.anh-usa.org/dietitians-using-medicare-reform-to-monopolize-hospital-nutrition-services/

“Big Farma” Still Trying to Hide Their Dirty Secrets       

http://www.anh-usa.org/big-farma-hide-dirty-secrets/#.USPI095uC10.email

FDA Again Ignores Instructions from Congress

http://www.anh-usa.org/fda-again-ignores-instructions-from-congress/#.UQkb0ujLCV0.email

Despite Farm Bill Extension, Unease Grips Rural America     

Christopher Doering, Gannett Washington Bureau 6:57p.m. EST January 2, 2013

Story Highlights

  • Bare-bones extension of farm bill passed late Tuesday
  • Concerns remain that agricultural programs are still susceptible to cuts
  • Lawmakers must complete a five-year, $500 billion bill to replace a 2008 law

WASHINGTON — Last-minute action by Congress to extend the expiring farm bill provides farmers and ranchers with a lifeline for this year, but it does little to suppress growing uncertainty in the agricultural community bracing for significant cuts to support programs.

The bare-bones extension passed late Tuesday by Congress as part of the package to avoid fallout from the "fiscal cliff" keeps many of the existing farm programs in place, including direct payments and crop insurance. It also prevents dairy subsidies from reverting to 1949 levels — a move that could have caused milk prices to double to about $7 a gallon.

But farmers and ranchers complained the package was riddled with flaws, such as cutting funding for conservation and energy and failing to provide money for much-needed disaster relief programs that have already expired.

"This extension does kind of kick the can down the road a bit," said Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. "There is some good in this, but we would have much rather had a five-year farm bill. It still leaves an era of uncertainty."

A growing concern among rural America is that, as Congress looks to cut spending, agricultural programs could be susceptible to even steeper cuts than those included in the farm bill proposals that failed to pass last year.

"We have come to the realization that we're going to have to have a smaller farm bill," said Paul Shubeck, a Beresford, S.D., corn and soybean farmer.

House GOP leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, were reluctant to vote on a larger five-year farm bill because of concerns they did not have the necessary support. The Senate's bill, passed

in June, cut spending by almost $24 billion. The House Agriculture Committee passed its own measure a month later with cuts of more than $35 billion. The full House never voted on either bill.

There has been widespread disagreement about how much to cut spending on nutrition programs. It is unclear whether it will be any easier to pass a farm law in the new Congress that begins Thursday.

"That roadblock may still be there," said Mike Duffy, a professor of economics at Iowa State University. "I haven't seen anything really outside the box yet, and I'd be surprised if there is something . . . unique enough that everybody can get behind it."

Top lawmakers with the House and Senate Agriculture committees have not given timelines for when they will act on new farm legislation. Lawmakers still need to complete a five-year, $500 billion bill to replace the 2008 farm law. Many expect the key components of last year's farm bill proposals — an end to direct payments, new crop insurance programs and cuts in nutrition initiatives — to be included in the new legislation.

Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said this week the extension "reforms nothing, provides no deficit reduction and hurts many areas of our agriculture economy."

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., a member of the House Agriculture Committee, said the work lawmakers did on a new farm bill last year will provide a solid foundation to move forward. "I remain optimistic that we can get a five-year farm bill done in the coming months," she said.

But Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said with the same House leadership in place he remains "concerned" about the chances of Congress finishing a five-year law.

Steve Anderson, a corn and soybean farmer in Marshall County in central Iowa, said the extension provides him with a better idea of what to plan for when he plants crops and purchases crop insurance. "Something is better than nothing at this point," he said.

Still, like other farmers, he is bracing for deeper cuts to farm programs and uncertainty as to what agriculture programs will look like.

"I'm probably going to be a little more conservative going forward," Anderson said. "There are still unknowns" about the next farm bill.


Monsanto Could Get Immunity From Federal Law      
Monsanto could get everything it wants for Christmas, unless we convince legislators this week to strip both the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5973) and the Farm Bill of dangerous riders that would give the biotech industry unprecedented power and immunity from not only an already-weakened review process, but also from federal law.   Tell Congress to dump the "Monsanto Protection Act" and other dangerous riders!

Here’s what’s at stake. Attached to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill is the “Farmers Assurance Provision” (Section 733) which is nothing more than a sneak attack on American farmers, consumers and the environment. If passed, this rider, aptly renamed the “Monsanto Protection Act,”  would give Monsanto immunity from federal law by allowing the biotech industry to plant genetically modified crops, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed.

On the Farm Bill side, Monsanto lobbyists have bought themselves several anti-regulatory riders that would effectively gut the USDA’s ability to regulate the use of
genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). The riders would speed up the review and approval process for new GE crops, and authorize the USDA to consider exempting certain GE crops from any review at all.

Now that Congress has returned, both bills are on the agenda. The Agriculture Appropriations could become part of an Omnibus Appropriations Bill and the Farm Bill could be included in a deficit-reduction agreement to avoid the "fiscal cliff.

Thankfully, we have at least one friend in Congress. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is circulating a letter to all of his colleagues in Congress opposing the “Monsanto Protection Act.” By signing our action alert below, you can ask your legislators to sign on to Rep. DeFazio’s “Dear Colleague” letter. You’ll also be asking your legislators to oppose the Farm Bill riders.

Don’t let Monsanto get away with this latest attack on farmers, consumers and the environment! Take action today!

Thank You!

In peace,
Katherine Paul
katherine@organicconsumers.org


Farm Bill Scenarios Unfold           
On a day when political posturing in Washington sent the stock market plunging, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told reporters he remains optimistic that Congress will deal with the so-called fiscal cliff before the current lame-duck session ends next month. And he believes that differences between the House and Senate versions of a farm bill could be worked out even if the farm bill is thrown into any tax- and deficit-cutting legislation or agreement.

Grassley pointed out that the Iowa delegation in the House is still working on a petition that would force a vote on the farm bill in the House, which, unlike the Senate, still has not passed a version of the farm bill. The petition effort, led by Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) needs 218 signatures to require a vote.

Before the November election, 67 members of the House from both parties had signed on.

If there is no vote and the farm bill gets wrapped into a bigger package of legislation, Grassley expected differences between the House and Senate bills to be worked out in a process similar to a year ago, when the leaders of both the House and Senate agriculture committees met behind closed doors to present a farm bill draft to the "super committee" that tried, and failed, to find a way to trim more than $1 trillion from federal spending.

The process would involve those four people, he said, (the committee chairs and ranking minority leaders). They would reach an agreement "and just give it to the legislators putting together the fiscal cliff legislation," Grassley said.

National Organic Standards Board Votes to Reject More Synthetic Additives in Infant Formula           

Positive news for organic consumers from the  recent National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting held Oct. 15-18 in Providence, Rhode Island: despite heavy corporate pressure the NOSB has rejected the petitions to allow synthetic versions of the nutrients taurine, lycopene, lutein and l-carnitine in organic foods, including organic infant formula.

The NOSB also rejected the petitions for two synthetic preservatives for use in organic infant formula.

This is a huge victory for the organic community and those who believe in organic integrity, and represents a shift in the recent direction of the NOSB and confirmation that the pressure Cornucopia brings to bear, in providing transparency to the process, has great utility.
The organic seal should signal that the product is free from unnecessary synthetic ingredients -- an alternative to the chemical cocktails of the conventional food supply that some call “food.” By rejecting these petitions, the NOSB reaffirmed that synthetic nutrients and synthetic preservatives have no place in organic foods. Cornucopia provided significant written and oral testimony to the NOSB urging rejection of these questionable synthetic ingredients.

Monsanto, Pesticide Companies Contribute Another $5.5 Million to Kill GMO Labeling Initiativ       
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 17, 2012 /NEWS.GNOM.ES/ — The following is being released by the California Right to Know campaign:

Monsanto just gave an additional $2.89 million to defeat Proposition 37, which would require labeling of genetically engineered foods in California. Monsanto’s total contribution against Proposition 37 now stands at $7.1 million, according to campaign finance disclosure records filed with the California Secretary of State.

Other major pesticide companies also just made major additional contributions to defeat Proposition 37, including DuPont ($874,800), Dow AgroSciences ($815,200), Bayer CropScience ($381,600), BASF Plant Science ($357,700) and Syngenta ($178,700).

“Monsanto wants to buy this election so they can keep hiding what’s really in our food,” said Gary Ruskin, campaign manager of the Yes on Proposition 37 campaign.  “They are on the losing side of history.  Californians want the right to know what’s in our food, and we will win it.”

The “Big 6″ pesticide firms (Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer, Dow, BASF and Syngenta) have contributed $19 million of the $32 million that the No on 37 campaign has raised.

Of the ten largest contributors to the No on 37 campaign, only one (Nestle USA) is from a company based in California.  And even Nestle USA is a subsidiary of the giant Swiss food conglomerate Nestle S.A.

Following is a list of the top 10 contributors to the No on 37 campaign.

NAME OF CONTRIBUTOR CITY STATE/ZIP Total Contribution
MONSANTO COMPANY SAINT LOUIS MO / 63167 $7,100,500
E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO. WASHINGTON DC / 20004 $4,900,000
BASF PLANT SCIENCE RESEARCH TRIANGLE PA NC / 27709 $2,000,000
BAYER CROPSCIENCE RESEARCH TRIANGLE PA NC / 27709 $2,000,000
DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC INDIANAPOLIS IN / 46268 $2,000,000
PEPSICO, INC. PURCHASE NY / 10577 $1,716,300
NESTLE USA, INC. GLENDALE CA / 91203 $1,169,400
COCA-COLA NORTH AMERICA ATLANTA GA / 30313 $1,164,400
CONAGRA FOODS OMAHA NE / 68102 $1,076,700
SYNGENTA CORPORATION WASHINGTON DC / 20006 $1,000,000

For more information about the California Right to Know campaign, see www.CaRightToKnow.org.

SOURCE California Right to Know Campaign
http://www.carighttoknow.org

Roundup with genetically modified crops, growing in agricultural areas, few people realize that this dangerous herbicide is also used in cities – in our parks and playgrounds.  According to the Department of Health’s report on city pesticide use in 2011, Roundup  is New York city’s most heavily used liquid herbicide.   The EPA is currently conducting a Registration Review of glyphosate, and will make a final decision no earlier than 2012.   The EPA has the power to ban glyphosate – but as we all know, Monsanto has tremendous lobbying power. We need millions of people to tell the EPA to ban this dangerous chemical! Please sign our petition today!   Sincerely,   Ronnie Cummins Executive Director The Organic Consumers Association

Trader Joe's: Get Antibiotics Out of Our Food               

Antibiotics are pumped into cows, chickens and pigs so they can survive in cramped, filthy feedlots and to make them grow faster.The more antibiotics our livestock eat, the more drug-resistant bacteria become, putting us at risk from deadly "superbugs."

Grocery stores can play a critical role to help protect public health by asking their meat suppliers end this practice. We're looking to Trader Joe's, one of the nation's more progressive grocers, to commit to selling only meat raised without antibiotics.

Click here to tell Trader Joe's not to sell meat with antibiotics!

Trader Joe's has shown concern for public health by refusing to sell products that have artificial colors, trans fats or GMOs. Let's get the grocer to take the next step!

Hundreds of thousands of consumers have already signed on demanding that Trader Joe's sell only meat without antibiotics. 

That's why I created a petition on SignOn.org to Trader Joe's CEO Dan Bane. Add your name, and let's get our meat off drugs. The petition says:

I urge you to source and sell only meat and poultry raised without antibiotics in all your Trader Joe's stores. The widespread use of antibiotics in food animals contributes to the spread of deadly, antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" in humans. We must preserve our antibiotics, and your leadership could begin to change the priorities for our nation's livestock producers. Thank you!

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thanks!

Meg Bohne, Consumers Union

This petition was created on SignOn.org, the progressive, nonprofit petition site. SignOn.org is sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action, which is not responsible for the contents of this or other petitions posted on the site. Consumers Union didn't pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the MoveOn.org list.

Want to support our work? MoveOn Civic Action is entirely funded by our 7 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.


Tell the EPA to Ban Monsanto's Roundup Weedkiller!            
French scientists released a new study yesterday that confirms what many of us have suspected all along: Monsanto’s top-selling weedkiller – Roundup – kills more than weeds.   The study- the first-ever long-term study of its kind - found that rats fed a diet containing the herbicide-tolerant GM corn, or given water containing Roundup in amounts considered safe in drinking water and GM crops in the US, developed huge tumors, along with kidney and liver failure, and had a shorter life span than those in the control group.   Please tell the EPA to ban glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup!   Monsanto’s Roundup has long been linked to human health problems, including birth defects. And while many  associate Roundup with genetically modified crops, growing in agricultural areas, few people realize that this dangerous herbicide is also used in cities – in our parks and playgrounds.  According to the Department of Health’s report on city pesticide use in 2011, Roundup  is New York city’s most heavily used liquid herbicide.   The EPA is currently conducting a Registration Review of glyphosate, and will make a final decision no earlier than 2012.   The EPA has the power to ban glyphosate – but as we all know, Monsanto has tremendous lobbying power. We need millions of people to tell the EPA to ban this dangerous chemical! Please sign our petition today!   Sincerely,   Ronnie Cummins Executive Director The Organic Consumers Association

 


Bring the Farm Bill to the Floor for a Vote!                Take Action!
Bipartisan Request for Farm Bill Meeting with Majority Leader Cantor

Programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expire on September 30. This includes organic priorities such as research funding and certification cost share. Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) is contacting his

colleagues to ask them to sign on to a letter to Majority Leader Cantor, requesting that the Farm Bill be brought to a vote before the end of the month. Please contact your Congressman by 10 a.m. Eastern on Friday, September 14 and ask him or her to sign on to this letter. (Please note that questions about the letter can be directed to Jake Oster at Jake.Oster@mail.house.gov). Thank you.

 


NPA Files Supplemental Comments for NDI Draft Guidance

Shaw: Comments “Intended to Ensure the Safety of Consumers and Provide Clarity to the Industry”

Published Tuesday, September 4, 2012
by Mike Keaton

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Statement from the Natural Products Association regarding supplemental comments submitted today by NPA Executive Director and CEO John Shaw and Senior Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Dr. Cara Welch in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s New Dietary Ingredients Draft Guidance.

Shaw: “The Natural Products Association is pleased with the FDA’s commitment to an open dialogue with NPA members and the industry about the NDI draft guidance. Our supplemental comments filed today are intended to ensure the safety of consumers and provide clarity to the industry, without imposing unreasonable or unnecessary regulatory barriers to the marketing of new products.

All of us at NPA look forward to a substantially re-written draft guidance from the FDA. We need to find a solution that works for both the FDA and the industry. I’d like to thank the FDA for taking our concerns seriously, and to our members for their ongoing input and

support. We look forward to discussing these issues further with the FDA.”

Welch:
“NPA’s supplemental comments address three key points in the current draft guidance. First, the draft guidance should make clear that a synthetic copy of a constituent or extract of a botanical can be a dietary ingredient. Legislation previously passed by Congress mandates that synthetic and natural ingredients for vitamins cannot be differentiated since our bodies treat the synthetic version the same way as the natural version. Simply put, there is no basis for the different treatment of botanicals under the law.Second, the draft guidance should provide criteria for identifying a “chemically altered” ingredient. NPA believes that a better approach would be to provide objective, analytically-based criteria for the industry.

Finally, the draft guidance should eliminate the need for unnecessary duplicate filings of the same NDI. The FDA should revise the draft to expressly permit filing of an NDI master file, and acknowledge that an NDI notification may incorporate by reference any information already submitted to the FDA. We believe these

changes will lead to a better draft guidance for consumers, industry and the FDA.”


Stop the Monsanto Rider

Hi All,

Please sign the petition and forward this on if you feel it is appropriate.

Thanks, Kim

A so-called 'Monsanto rider,' quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, would require - not just allow, but require - the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do is ask.

That's why I signed a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:

"Stop the Monsanto Rider. Unless the senate or a citizen's army of farmers and consumers can stop them, the House of Representatives is likely to ram this dangerous rider through any day now."

Will you sign this petition? Click here:

http://signon.org/sign/stop-the-monsanto-rider?source=s.em.mt&r_by=2513169

Thanks!

 


Obama Administration Commends Organic Industry

Washington, D.C.—As America continues to face its worst economic situation since the Great Depression, the Obama Administration acknowledges that the organic agriculture and trade industry lends a generous hand in improving our nation.

The Council of Economic Advisers, the White House Rural Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report June 11, 2012 commending the industry on its success. The report stressed the immense contributions of the organic industry within the U.S. agricultural economy and its part in expanding opportunities for agricultural production—two major points to highlight in the upcoming Farm Bill season, which is up for renewal next year.

“The organic sector is fueling jobs and rural livelihoods at an astounding rate,” said Matt McLean, Organic Trade Association (OTA) board president and, CEO and founder of Uncle Matt’s Organic. “Organic is also creating an important economic opportunity for rural Americans through new business opportunities generated from the recent organic equivalency trade arrangements with Canada and the European Union.”

McLean also noted that the U.S. organic food industry is a significant component of President Obama’s efforts to boost agricultural exports. For instance, the Administration successfully negotiated organic food equivalency agreements with Canada and the European Union.

Moreover, the organic industry has in fact created a plethora of opportunities for rural Americans. The report boasted that the industry grew by 9.5% overall in 2011 to reach $31.4 billion in sales and created more than 500,000 jobs in 2010, the latter according to an OTA report in April. In addition, the number certified organic operations grew 6% from 2009 to 2011.

According to crop values issued by the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service, it takes sixth place for the value of production, right after wheat and cotton and directly before almonds, peanuts and rice. The report called organic farming the “fastest growing sector in organic.” Despite this prominence, some believe the American government should focus more on the growing agriculture sector.

“As the 2012 Farm Bill debate continues in the Senate this week, elected officials should remain cognizant of the fact that the organic industry has thrived—providing jobs, supporting rural livelihoods and advancing in entrepreneurial spirit—despite very modest investments in research, development and promotion compared to the support provided to other agriculture sectors,” said Christina Bushway, OTA’s CEO and executive director. “U.S. farm policy should level the playing field and provide the organic sector access to the same opportunities and benefits long afforded to others so that our industry can further contribute to moving the economy forward.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2012 (online 6/13/12)

 

education
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NPA Sends Letter to Chicago Tribune about “Distorted” Supplement Safety Story  

The Natural Products Association’s Executive Director and CEO John Shaw and Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Dr. Cara Welch issued a response to a story about Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and the dietary supplement industry that appeared in the Sunday, July 1, edition of the Chicago Tribune. (Dietary supplements: Manufacturing troubles widespread, FDA inspections show)

 

On Monday, July 2, NPA sent a letter to the editor about the story:

 

 Dear Editor,

 

I’d like to address some of the issues raised in your story about good manufacturing practices (GMP) and the dietary supplement industry.

 

First, most Americans are taking supplements to address nutritional deficiencies and support their health. Adverse event reports to the Food and Drug Administration show that dietary supplements have an excellent safety record, especially compared to pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs. This story should not persuade anyone to stop taking their supplements, which are important for overall health and wellness.

 

The FDA is presenting a distorted view of supplement safety. The agency tends to work on a prioritization system that puts companies they suspect may have issues at the top of the inspection list. This can skew the results to paint an inappropriate picture. The agency is being very transparent about these numbers in an effort to encourage compliance.

 

Nevertheless, we’re concerned any time a violation may be found with a supplement manufacturer and it’s an issue we take seriously. As the nation’s largest association representing the dietary supplement industry, the Natural Products Association continues to lead the industry in providing high-quality good

manufacturing practices education to inform the industry about their responsibilities under the law.

 

NPA also offers a third-party GMP certification program with standards that meet or exceed those set by the FDA. We have certified nearly 70 companies under this program. Consumers can find out which ones have been certified with good manufacturing practices by visiting www.NPAinfo.org/consumers.

 

Finally, it’s important to emphasize that dietary supplements are part of a fully-regulated industry. Good manufacturing practices apply to all supplement manufacturers, large or small, and everyone in the industry must comply with them.

 

Sincerely,

 

John Spitaleri Shaw

Executive Director & CEO
Natural Products Ass ociation

jshaw@NPAinfo.org

 

About the Natural Products Association

Founded in 1936, the Natural Products Association is
the nation’s largest and oldest non-profit organ-
ization dedicated to the natural products industry.
The Natural Products Association represents over
1,900 members accounting for over 10,000 retail, manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution locations
of natural products, including foods, dietary supple-ments, and health/beauty aids.

Natural Products Association
1773 T Street. NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 223-0101
Toll-free (800) 966-6632
Fax (202) 223-0250

Email
Website
Facebook: Natural Products Association
Twitter: NPA National

 


Label Genetically Engineered Food
In 49 countries around the world, including all of Europe, people have the opportunity of knowing whether or not they are eating food which contains genetically engineered ingredients. In the United States, we don't. That is why Sen. Bernie Sanders, along with Sen. Barbara Boxer, introduced an amendment to the agriculture bill which will give states the right to require labels on food products which are genetically engineered.  A vote on Bernie’s amendment is expected later this week.

NPA Helps to Defeat the Durbin Amendment

NPA thanks all advocates who reached out to their senators

 Dear dietary supplements advocates:

 In another victory for Natural Products Association members, advocates, and the industry, the Durbin Amendment has been defeated, with the U.S. Senate approving Senator Tom Harkin’s motion to table the Durbin amendment by a final vote of 77-20.

 The Senate vote was a significant victory for the industry. Senator Durbin announced his intention to seek a vote on his amendment for the first time late Tuesday evening – and worked hard to “whip” votes on his surprise amendment all day Wednesday and Thursday, including making several statements on the Senate floor.

 Starting Tuesday night, NPA began working with our Congressional champions and fellow

stakeholders to defeat the amendment. The efforts continued all day Wednesday as NPA coordinated with the other trade associations to ensure that every single Senate office was contacted and asked to oppose the amendment. NPA also reached out to you -- its powerful grassroots network – who responded with a flood of outreach to Capitol Hill. Finally, today all five trade associations came together and issued a joint statement expressing our united opposition to the amendment.

 NPA would like to thank everyone who reached out to their senators to urge them to oppose the Durbin amendment. It is important to remember that the regulation of dietary supplements remains a hot topic for members of Congress. We must remain engaged, because these issues are likely to be revisited.

Sincerely,
Jeff Wright
President, NPA


No Room for Interpretation

Ignoring the law’s authors, the FDA creates a self-serving DSHEA definition.

April 2012

Despite growing public outcry over its proposed New Dietary Ingredient guidelines, the Food and Drug Administration continues to doggedly advance an NDI draft that could dismantle the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)—and take away your vitamins forever.

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who helped write DSHEA, requested NDI guidelines be withdrawn and retooled in December 2011. But by January, the FDA had already rejected their request. The agency is instead choosing to interpret DSHEA in their own self-serving, freedom-destroying way—even when Hatch and Harkin are telling the FDA the exact meaning of the words the senators wrote.

There is no room for interpreting DSHEA when you’re face-to-face with two key authors of DSHEA! An equivalent scenario might have the FDA arguing with James Madison about what the US Constitution means—even though James Madison is the one who wrote the Constitution!

The FDA’s unwillingness to accept DSHEA’s true meaning straight from its authors seems to have sinister undertones. By turning a deaf ear to Hatch and Harkin and instead fabricating their own meaning, the agency appears to be attacking the essence of DSHEA. Make no mistake: Without DSHEA in its original incarnation to protect us, our vitamins will vanish.

Misinterpretation’s Folly

FDA is misinterpreting DSHEA in many ways. For one, the FDA interprets that a manufacturer must submit an NDI notification for every product that contains a new dietary ingredient. Hatch and Harkin reveal DSHEA’s true intent was an NDI notification for the ingredient only. Leave it to the FDA to propose a system so illogical, inefficient and redundant! Why submit paperwork on dozens of products, when submitting paperwork for one ingredient would achieve the same exact goal?

Another key misinterpretation is the FDA’s

narrow take on DSHEA’s definition of “dietary ingredient.” By interpreting that nutrients such as amino acids and synthetic vitamins “do not count” as dietary ingredients, the FDA seems to be trying to limit which nutrients could be used in supplements. Conveniently for the FDA, this will keep manufacturers from developing new nutritional ingredients and products. Even though Hatch and Harkin verify that DSHEA says synthetic vitamins are fine, the FDA is stubbornly choosing to ignore reality and create their own definition, which will enable them to control your health freedom.

Empty Shelves

If the FDA’s draft guidelines become real, the immediate impact will be a massive recall of supplements that are already on health food store shelves. Any products containing new strains of probiotics, cutting-edge nutrients such as astaxanthin and ubiquinol or synthetic vitamins will all be pulled.

How bad will this be? One recent estimate suggested that over 50% of all supplements on the market might be recalled—at a cost of billions of dollars to the nutritional supplement industry. The end of health freedom as we know it might be near—unless we fight back right now.

A Call to Action

We must actively protect DSHEA, especially after the FDA’s rude rejection of Hatch and Harkin. Don’t let the FDA’s New Dietary Ingredient Draft Guidance advance another step!

Show your support to our friends who are representing health freedom by sending faxes to Senators Tom Harkin at 202-224-9369 and Orrin Hatch at 202-224-6331. In addition, fax and call your state’s elected officials—tell them that keeping DSHEA safe from the FDA is a top priority!

And stay tuned for more news: The supplement industry is soon joining forces for a major call-to-arms against the FDA’s proposed NDI guidance. Visit www.NHA2012.com for more information!

 

*This editorial is a public service announcement sponsored by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA).

 


Calling for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food

Dear Friend of Organic,

Use your voice as an American citizen and organic consumer to tell the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Consumers care about how their food is produced, and have a right to know what they are eating and feeding their families.  Multiple surveys show that more than 90% of all consumers support labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisms

A petition (Docket # FDA-2011-P-0723-0001/CP) has been filed with FDA calling for labels on food that have been genetically engineered. More than 500,000 Americans have already submitted comments in support of the petition, but we are not done yet! Let your voice be heard. Please take a moment to submit your support for the petition. 

Simply go to http://justlabelit.org/takeaction and take action today! 


Please contact your elected officials and demand the FDA withdraw the NDI Draft Guidance
Please contact your elected officials to preserve your access to dietary supplements. This request comes as the FDA is making its most serious attempt in 17 years to dramatically limit access to dietary supplements. The FDA is trying to require all supplements sold after October 1994 to be registered as New Dietary Ingredients (NDIs). This registration process would be extremely expensive and will limit the kinds of products that can be sold.

If the NDIs are adopted in their current form, prices for dietary supplements will skyrocket, the range of products currently available will significantly dwindle, and the innovation the dietary supplement industry has been known for will be decimated.

If you care about taking dietary supplements, then please let your elected officials know that you DO NOT approve of the NDI Draft Guidance.

Write your elected officials and let them know
you are opposed to the FDA's NDI Draft Guidance

1. Let FDA know you completely oppose the NDI
Draft Guidance by submitting your comments.

2. Write your congressperson: (https://writerep.
house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
)

3. Write your senator: (http://www.senate.gov/
general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
)

4. Get your friends mobilized to fight to keep
access to the dietary supplements they depend on for their health and well-being. (e-mail it and post it on Facebook and Twitter!)


Take Action Now to Protect Organic
Contact Your Representatives about the 2012 Farm Bill
Please help defend the small, but critical, programs that support hard-working, committed organic businesses going the extra mile to bring healthy, delicious, and responsible organic food to your plate.

In order to reach deficit reduction requirements, Members of Congress are currently facing the daunting task of determining unprecedented spending cuts.

 While the funding for organic programs is miniscule in regards to the overall budget, everything is under scrutiny.

We need your help. Please email your elected federal officials and make sure they remember the importance of organic while making these tough budget decisions.

Take Action!


Make Your Voice Heard…Tips for Contacting Your Representatives

Tips On Telephoning Your Elected Representatives

To find your senators' and representative's phone numbers, refer to the top of our legislative page or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your senators' and/or representative's office.

Remember that telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue about which you wish to comment.

After identifying yourself, tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as: "Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) that I support/oppose (S.___/H.R.___)."

You will also want to state reasons for your support or opposition to the bill. Ask for your senators' or representative's position on the bill. You may also request a written response to your telephone call.

Tips On E-mailing Congress

It’s Easy!  You may find and e-mail your senators and representatives directly via the internet. Log on to www.contactingthecongress.org.


Tips On Writing Congress


The letter is the most popular choice of communication with a congressional office. If you decide to write a letter, this list of helpful suggestions will improve the effectiveness of the letter:

  1. Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it accordingly, e.g., House bill: H. R. ____, Senate bill: S.____.
  2. Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using examples to support your position.
  3. Address only one issue in each letter; and, if possible, keep the letter to one page.

Take Action!

Update on Legislation that Could Affect Your Access to Natural Products

Dear Natural Product Advocate: 

I wanted to give you an update on the Durbin bill (Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011 (S. 1310)), and the Hatch-Paulsen legislation (The Family and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011 (S.1098/H.R.2010)).  Thanks to you, we have now sent over 5,000 messages to Capitol Hill in opposition to the Durbin bill and almost 2,000 in support of Hatch-Paulsen.

We see no sign of immediate activity with either piece of legislation, and neither is expected to go through the usual Congressional process as a free-standing bill.  However, both could wind up being attached (in whole or in part) to other bills that must pass.

We will keep a close eye on developments and alert you if we see any movement. In the meantime, keeping

the pressure up on the Durbin bill is important. Should Sen. Durbin seek cosponsors or other support, those Senate offices that have heard from you will know that it’s not an “easy” bill to back. So if you haven’t had a chance to write, please click here

Similarly, the more support we can show for Hatch-Paulsen, the stronger our hand, should the opportunity arise, so please click here to weigh in with your elected officials.

Thank you!

John Gay, CAE
Executive Director and CEO
Natural Products Association

Boosting Fuel Standards to 54.5 MPG

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has been a leader in the fight to raise fuel standards, praised the deal reached by the Obama administration and U.S. automakers that will increase the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. “The deal,” Bernie said, “will save car owners money at the gas pump, cut greenhouse gas emissions and create American jobs.

Last year, Bernie introduced the Clean Coasts and Efficient Cars Act, which called for a minimum of 55 mpg by 2030. The deal struck by the administration accomplishes many of the goals sought by Bernie. The new target builds on an earlier plan to have cars average 35 mpg by 2016.

“The historic agreement to raise fuel economy standards for new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 is a huge step forward,” said Bernie, who added the change will allow the United States to wean itself off of Mideast oil by 2030. 

Read the official EPA announcement »

FACT SHEET: New fuel economy standards »

REPORT: Moving to 54.5 mpg will save 2.5 million barrels of oil each day and save consumers up to $7,000 in net fuel costs over the life of a vehicle »

 


Durbin Labeling Bill Imposes Needless New Regulations -- Call to Action!

Ask your legislators to OPPOSE Sen. Durbin's Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011
(S. 1310)

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) has introduced the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011 (S. 1310), which the Natural Products Association believes would impose needless new regulations on supplement makers in an attempt to address the issue of manufacturers who mislabel their food and drink products as dietary supplements.  

Among other provisions, the bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (presumably the Food and Drug Administration) to create a list of ingredients and proprietary blends of ingredients that “could cause potentially serious adverse events.”  This overly broad language (no definition is offered of “could cause,” for example) takes the regulation of supplements well beyond the current, effective rules. 

The bill also would direct the FDA to impose mandatory warning labels on ingredients the

government decides are potentially harmful.  There are no protections in the bill from the inevitable lawsuits that would follow. 

NPA recognizes the intent of the bill is to halt the sale of food products that are masquerading as dietary supplements, and the Natural Products Association has repeatedly called on the FDA to use its existing authority to act against such rule breakers.  Imposing additional regulations on the legitimate dietary supplement industry is neither an appropriate nor effective way to achieve this goal

Please join us in urging Congress to oppose S.1310.  Send your letter to your lawmakers today!.

Take Action!


Family and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011
Please ask your members of Congress to SUPPORT this bill

The Family and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011 (S.1098/H.R.2010), introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Erik Paulsen would allow Americans to use their Flexible Spending Arrangement and Health Saving Account dollars on dietary supplements and meal replacement products.

 

Americans should have greater access to these products that promote their health.

The Natural Products Association endorses this bill, and urges you to contact your members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor this important legislation.

Please send this message to your legislators today!

Take Action!

House Debates Funding Cuts For Food Safety, Nutrition Programs

by April Fulton, National Public Radio   June 14, 2011

Trying to keep the purse strings tied up tightly is the name of the game for House GOP leaders today as the House of Representatives debates an agriculture appropriations bill that would cut funding for nutrition programs and food safety.

In a bit of a twist, the House is allowing votes on amendments, so the floor debate could last hours, if not a day or two, congressional aides predict.

And, despite concerns that some of the bill's cuts would impact key domestic programs, the White House is not so far threatening to veto the bill.

A key debate is shaping up over the bill's proposed $650 million in cuts to the normally bipartisan Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. The administration's official word is "these cuts sould undermine efforts to prevent hunger and support sound nutrition for some of the most vulnerable members of our society."

Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, put it more bluntly. "This is a pro-hunger bill," he said in his opening remarks on the floor. "These are real cuts that will do damage to real people," he added.

The liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that up to 350,000 eligible women and children could lose access to the

program under the House bill.

But Republicans say too much money is wasted on administering these programs and that there are other ways for these women to get help. Agriculture Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, a Republican from Kentucky, says that the cuts are necessary and fiscally responsible.

"We have to reign in spending, even if it may not be the most popular thing to do," he said during the debate. The bill passed his committee late last month.

The bill would also fund FDA's food safety budget at $87 million below last year's levels, just as the agency prepares to implement a slew of new regulations to deal with things like E. coli outbreaks.

The House spending bill would also cut about $35 million from USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service.

It would also zero out an Obama pet project to fight obesity, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative.

Meanwhile, the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee hasn't yet drafted its own bill, so it may be awhile before the total funding picture for agriculture shakes out.


House Advances Budget With Significant Cuts to FDA

by Helena Bottemiller | May 25, 2011

House lawmakers sparred over proposed cuts to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in an appropriations markup on Tuesday. A proposal unveiled by House Republicans Monday seeks $285 million in cuts to the FDA in Fiscal Year 2012, an 11.5 percent reduction from FY 2011, just as the agency is working to implement a sweeping new food safety law.

Former chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), told Republicans on the panel that she believes their cuts, which were approved by the subcommittee in a voice vote Tuesday, will roll back "years of progress on food safety."

DeLauro, who called foodborne illness a "major" threat to public health, challenged Republicans on the spending measure, adding that she believes the proposal is "unacceptable."

"FDA is the cornerstone of our food safety system," said DeLauro during markup, noting that she believes the agency has had "limited funding and an outdated mandate."

"We passed the Food Safety Modernization Act to give the FDA better tools and this proposal would undo all of that," she said. "We should be strengthening our food safety system, not eviscerating it."

DeLauro cited a recent GAO report on imported seafood safety oversight, which called FDA'ssystem limited and called for more testing,  

as the most recent example of why Congressshould support strengthening FDA's oversight of food products.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), chair of the subcommittee, emphasized the austere budget circumstances in which Congress is operating. It's "been tight for all of us," he said. "We have tried our best to focus on waste and duplication."

Consumer and regulatory advocates blasted the proposal as a threat to public health.

"FDA is a pre-eminent public health agency that assures that our food supply is safe and that drugs, vaccines and medical devices are safe and effective," said Christopher Waldrop, an Alliance for a Stronger FDA board member and director of the Consumer Federation of America's Food Policy Institute. "Multiple times every day, Americans use products for which FDA has oversight responsibilities. There is no back-up if the agency isn't there."
 
"FDA's job is much like national defense - -essential to our nation's well-being --- and providing protection that is too often taken for granted until a crisis occurs," said Richard Buckley, who also serves on the board for the Allaince, and is VP of Federal Government Affairs, at AstraZeneca. "Now is not the time to cut the FDA, even with economic pressures to decrease the deficit. A strong FDA is welcomed by the industries it oversees and spurs innovation that drives our economy."

 


Organics could prevent staph-infected meat

Mon, 2011-04-18 21:41
Natural Foods Merchandiser
Pamela Bond
Byline:  Pamela Bond

A new study found that nearly a quarter of U.S. meat is infected with antibiotic-resistant staph, causing a food fight over antibiotic use in livestock production. But the solution is simple: organics. 

Nearly half of meat and poultry—47 percent—sold at U.S. grocery stores is infected with Staphylococcus aureusbacteria. And more than half of those bacteria are resistant to three classes of antibiotics, according to a new study.

To get these results, researchers collected and analyzed 136 samples — covering 80 brands — of beef, chicken, pork and turkey from 26 retail grocery stores in five U.S. cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Flagstaff and Washington, D.C. Through DNA testing, researchers found that the food animals were the major source of contamination.

“The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today,” said Lance B. Price, PhD, senior author of the study and Director of TGen’s Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health, in a release.

Antibiotic use on food animals concerns health officials because this practice is contributing to the rising number of antibiotic-resistant strains of disease in humans. “Scientists have found that the abuse of antibiotics—namely the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics to prevent illness when there is overcrowding, not the treatment of an infection—has resulted in antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” said Barbara Haumann, senior writer/editor for the Brattleboro, Vt-based Organic Trade Association. “This means that antibiotics for use in treating human illness are becoming less effective, and, in some cases, totally ineffective. This is a serious issue.”

The Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientistshas said that agricultural use accounts for 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S., and this practice “provides resistant bacteria with a direct route into people’s kitchens.” In December 2010, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration estimated that 29 million pounds of antibiotics were sold for livestock use in 2009. In June 2010, the FDA released a policy statement recommending that agricultural uses of antibiotics should be limited to assuring animal health. According to the OTA, conventional meat producers feed animals antibiotics “to compensate for overcrowding and unsanitary conditions” and to promote weight gain and feed efficiency.

The U.S. government routinely surveys retail meat and poultry for four types of drug-resistant bacteria, but S. aureus is not among them, reported the study authors. The types of health problems linked to S. aureus range from mild skin infections to life-threatening diseases, such as pneumonia and blood poisoning, according to the National Institutes of Health.

What to do at the farm

Some meat advocacy organizations criticized the small sample size and the funding source for the study. The research was supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts as part of The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, which is working to phase out theoveruse of the drugs in food animal production. Also, the Washington, D.C.-based American Meat Institute pointed out that “these bacteria are destroyed through normal cooking procedures,” and, thus, aren’t necessarily a health risk.

“They’re right,” said Charles Benbrook, PhD, chief scientist for the Boulder, Colo.-based The Organic Center. “Adequately cooking meat definitely reduces the risk of contamination.” However, Benbrook noted that if people aren’t careful about cleaning cutting boards or the containers in which they store meat, a high-risk situation can result. “Let’s face it, people are busy and aren’t as careful as they should be," Benbrook said. "Sometimes juices and blood get around the kitchen. That’s where the risk is. That bacteria can hang around the fridge and get picked up by raw foods.” Or, let’s say you touched raw meat while making a meal and failed to thoroughly clean your hands. If you then prepared your baby’s bottle, the bacteria could infect the child. If this bacteria is resistant to antibiotics, any resulting sickness could be untreatable. 

A long-term fix, according to Benbrook, begins on the farm. The first step is to end the creation of new antibiotic-resistant genes on livestock farms. “We know how to do this: Stop using sub-therapeutic antibiotics on farms,” Benbrook said. To ensure that meat has been produced without antibiotics, retailers and consumers can choose products bearing the organic label, according to the OTA. These certified organic operations are federally regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The next step is to promote animal health and reduce stress, so the animals’ immune systems can handle bacteria that are a normal part of environment. “Conventional agriculture has gone overboard in maximizing the speed of animal growth,” Benbrook said. “Sure, the animals put on a lot of fat and grow fast, but they’re not healthy, and they’re susceptible to bacteria. Whether conventional or organic, farmers have to place a higher premium on healthy animal development.”

And the last step is to prevent cross-contamination of meat at the slaughterhouse, which can spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

What to do at the store

“Choosing foods bearing the organic label is the only way consumers can be sure meats and dairy products they buy have been produced without the use of antibiotics,” according to the OTA’s position paper on the issue.

Beyond being free of antibiotics, Diana Crane, spokesperson for Seattle-based PCC Natural Markets, said that “organic meats are ‘cleaner’—meaning free of harmful bacteria—than nonorganic meats.” As evidence, she pointed to a 2010 study published by Consumer Reports, which found that the store-brand organic chickens the magazine tested never had salmonella.

PCC is a certified organic retailer that sells antibiotic-free, organic beef and poultry, none of which come from CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations)—a situation “that contributes to the need for antibiotics and the spread of infection,” Crane said. The store staff educate shoppers on PCC standards and practices related to raw meat sourcing through the retailer’s website, monthly newspaper and in-store signage.

To take action on this issue, retailers and consumers can join PCC and other groups in their support of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 1549/S. 619). If passed, the PAMTA would require the FDA to review approvals for animal feed uses of seven classes of antibiotics that are viewed as important to human medicine. Approvals could be reversed for antibiotics the FDA finds are overused, resulting in antibiotic resistance


NPA Rallies on Capitol Hill
NPA educates Congress and honors champions during Natural Products Day
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Natural Products Association (NPA) hosted industry stakeholders and supporters from Alaska to Florida at the 14th Annual Natural Products Day in Washington, D.C., on April 6. Attendees, who included a wide range of retailers, manufacturers and suppliers, met with members of Congress and their staffs about the industry and NPA’s legislative priorities, all of which promote greater consumer access to and awareness of natural products.

“We are delighted that so many NPA members and others in the industry took time out from their stores and companies to come to Washington, D.C., to educate their elected officials,” said NPA executive director and CEO John Gay. “Coupled with NPA’s lobbying and grassroots efforts, Natural Products Day helps us educate a new Congress, in which about one in five legislators are new to the job.”

The day began with an issue briefing and advocacy training session. Attendees then spent the afternoon in meetings with lawmakers and key staff members from their districts and states.

During their meetings, lawmakers were educated on the extensive regulatory structure governing dietary supplements, and on the health and economic benefits of the industry. They also learned about the NPA’s growing Natural Seal certification program, which now covers more than 600 health and beauty and homecare products and ingredients.

 

On the legislative front, attendees asked Congress to support the Tax Equity for Meal Replacements and Supplements Act, which would allow Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars to be used for supplements and meal replacements that are permitted to make health claims. In addition, lawmakers were asked to oppose the Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Abuse Reduction Act, which would needlessly place DHEA behind the counter, providing no benefit to consumers.

The day ended with a packed evening reception on Capitol Hill, where attendees, legislators and staff mixed and mingled. At the reception, NPA presented Congressional Champion Awards to the following legislators:

  • Representative Dan Burton of Indiana
  • Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah    
  • Representative Michael Enzi of Wyoming
  • Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa
  • Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah
  • Representative Jared Polis of Colorado
  • Senator Jon Tester of Montana

Senators Harkin and Hatch and Representative Burton addressed the group, expressing their support for the industry and appreciation for this honor. NPA will continue to work with all members across party lines to strengthen the industry’s position in Congress. Learn how to get involved at www.npainfo.org

 


NPA Getting 'Good Feedback' From
Congressional Freshman
Initiatives introduced by the Natural Products Association (NPA) to engage a fresh batch of Congress members are already reaping rewards, says the NPA’s executive director.

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA, John Gay explained that the association’s lobby team has been to Capital Hill over 25 times to visit with Congress members who participate in the committees of jurisdiction, the ones that have most direct impact on legislation affecting natural products.

 

“We’re getting good feedback from them about the industry. They’re impressed by the type of self-regulation we do; when we explain how dietary supplements, for example, are regulated. A lot of them don’t fully understand that,” he added.

 

They're listening!  Just another reason to contact our Senators and Representatives.

 

 

Stand up for Farmer and Citizen Rights -
Tell Obama to Ban Monsanto's GMO Alfalfa!

 

Last week President Obama and Secretary Vilsack approved Monsanto's GMO alfalfa, a move that fundamentally undermines the organic dairy and beef industries. As a main feed crop for organic livestock, the planting of Monsanto's GMO alfalfa will result in genetic contamination of organic and non-GMO alfalfa, thus making it hard for organic farmers to meet USDA organic standards that require organic feed for certification and also the loss of important overseas markets for conventional farmers that grow non-GMO alfalfa for foreign consumers who refuse to accept GMOs as safe for human consumption.

We all need to stay vigilant to these threats, and the NPA will continue to let you know when your action is needed to fight a harmful piece of legislation.

President Obama and Secretary Vilsack need to hear from the millions of Americans who are disappointed by this unwise decision. Tell them that you are deeply disillusioned by this decision and let all of your friends who care about organics to join in. It's outrageous to risk the contamination of the organic dairy industry simply for Monsanto's corporate profits.

Let them know that you care about organic integrity by following this link from Food Democracy Now! Then please pass this on.

Every voice counts!

 

 

 
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/declaration_of_farmer_and_citizen_rights/?referring_akid=.246364.iNsJPF&source=taf
 

112th Congress and What You Can Do To Support Natural Products
 
Last year, you helped defeat the McCain bill and FTC powers legislation by writing to your member of Congress. After last nights State of the Union address, the work of the 112th Congress will begin in earnest, so it is time to take stock of the legislative landscape.

In short, this industry remains under threat, and our opponents will continue to seek ways to over-regulate us. For example, the ideas contained in the McCain bill, such as a premarket approval requirement for dietary supplements, remain in play; and there are those, particularly in the Senate, who would revive the FTC powers proposal. Legislation involving categories of supplements like sports supplements and DHEA is another real possibility. 

There are also the activities of Congressional committees. It was the Senate Aging Committee that asked the GAO to perform their investigation of the supplement industry. The report served as the centerpiece of a 2010 hearing, and follow-up hearings are always possible in 2011. We also expect the regulatory agencies to be more active in the coming year.

We all need to stay vigilant to these threats, and the NPA will continue to let you know when your action is needed to fight a harmful piece of legislation.

What You Can Do Now

In the meantime, we must educate both new and returning members of Congress so that they better understand dietary supplements when they make decisions that impact us. The NPA is reaching out to members of Congress and their staffs, but the more your representatives and senators hear about the value of supplements from their constituents, the better.

We can help. If you would like to send an email to your elected officials, just go to NPA's Action Alert page.  You will find a letter you can send to your members of Congress to open the door of communication with them. If you wish, you may add a line or two about your involvement with natural products.

Thank you for your advocacy with Congress.

 

Historic Food Safety Bill Signed into Law

by Helena Bottemiller | Jan 05, 2011

Using 15 pens, President Obama signed the long-awaited FDA Food Safety Modernization Act into law Tuesday evening.

The legislation, widely hailed as the most sweeping update to U.S. food safety law since the Great Depression, survived a constitutional slip-up, repeated filibuster threats, fierce debate over controversial amendments, and managed to advance amidst a jam-packed legislative agenda in one of the most productive Congresses in recent history.  In the last 18 months, food safety legislation cleared the Senate twice and the House three times.

The legislative saga ended quietly Tuesday after the president returned from a family vacation in Hawaii.  He signed the bill into law--along with a stack of others, including bills aimed at improving shark conservation, pedestrian safety, and science education--with no formal signing ceremony or statement.

Industry, public health, and consumer groups praised the signing.

Pam Bailey, president & CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, thanked the president for signing the bill to strengthen the U.S. food safety system.

"Today's bill signing marks a historic moment for our country--as it represents the most comprehensive reform of our nation's food safety laws in more than 70 years," said Bailey in a statement.  "This landmark legislation provides FDA with the resources and authorities the agency needs to help strengthen our nation's food safety system by making prevention the focus of our food safety strategies, and will help restore the public's faith in the safety and security of the food supply."
 
"The food industry applauds Congress for the passage of historic food safety legislation and is grateful to the President for his signature today," added GMA chairman of the board, chief executive officer of Del Monte Foods Richard Wolford.  "I am proud of the food industry for its support of landmark food safety legislation and our efforts to protect consumers and provide them a safe food supply."
 


As Food Safety News recently reported, supporters of the new law are gearing up to fight for the funding to implement the provisions in a contentious budgetary landscape.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a longtime advocate of food safety reform and outgoing chair of the subcommittee that oversees FDA's budget, pushed back against reports of GOP plans to block significant funding increases.
 
"It is disturbing that there will be an effort by Republicans to cut FDA funding and thus prevent this landmark new law from being implemented adequately," said DeLauro in a statement Monday.  "In the same week that Republicans announced their intention to cut FDA funding for the new food safety law, it was announced that a salmonella outbreak involving alfalfa sprouts had sickened nearly 100 people in at least 15 states.  Without appropriate funding levels, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act would not be as effective in protecting our food supply and saving lives."
 

Longtime proponent of the legislation, John Dingell (D-MI), echoed the call to fund the bill.

"This law is long overdue," said Dingell, citing the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate on annual foodborne illnesses and deaths in the U.S. "Now we must take the next step to ensure that the new authorities are fully funded to ensure the FDA can do its work to protect the American people."

The new law will give FDA expanded authority over approximately 80 percent of the food supply--not including USDA-regulated meat and poultry products--by giving the agency mandatory recall power and expanded access to food safety records.  FDA will be required to increase the frequency of food facility inspections (currently a facility might be inspected once a decade).  Growers and food manufacturers will also be required to implement food safety plans and foreign facilities importing food to the U.S. will have to meet the same standards.

 


Food Safety Bill Passes the Senate

This morning the Senate passed S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, by a vote of 73-25. It is still expected that the House will approve the bill as passed by the Senate, and send it on to the President for his signature. Enactment will complete a long legislative journey spanning several Congresses, and is a significant win for the NPA and the industry; as provisions negatively impacting natural products retailers and suppliers were modified or kept out of the bill, and measures supported by the industry were included.

As noted in earlier updates, the bill includes the language negotiated between industry champion Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), which prompted McCain to withdraw his support for S. 3002. There also are provisions protecting supplement makers from duplicative safety regulations, and language clarifying that nothing in the bill promotes adoption of CODEX by the United States. These provisions were supported by NPA. The bill also includes a recent amendment offered by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) to protect small farmers, as well as several other provisions. Not included in the revised package is the penalties amendment proposed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that the Natural Products Association opposed.

The final version of this bill is a demonstration of the impact of the strong grassroots voice of NPA members and others in the industry, and the hard work by the NPA staff and lobbying team.

The NPA will remain vigilant for the rest of the lame duck session of Congress to ensure the interests of the industry are protected.


Senate Food Safety Bill and the Leahy Amendment
A status report from the Natural Products Association 

We wanted to update you on legislative action in the Senate today of importance to the natural products industry on which the NPA has been working. This afternoon, the Senate voted 74-25 to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the Senate version of the Food Safety bill (S.510). While the NPA has opposed the House version of the Food Safety bill, the Senate legislation is a more balanced approach that recognizes the special nature of supplements. 

Now that cloture has been invoked, the Senate must vote on the motion itself. Assuming it passes, the Senate would move on to the bill, a move that also can be filibustered, meaning that 60 senators must support the measure for it to pass.

A number of controversial amendments to the bill have been proposed, including one by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that would have had potentially damaging effects on the natural products industry. We understand, however, that Senate Majority Leader Reid is unlikely to open the bill up to numerous amendments, and may allow none. If no amendments are allowed, it would give the Senate a simple up or down vote on the bill -- a vote likely to occur by the end of this week. Given the 74-25 vote today on cloture, we would expect such a bill to pass. While the House of Representatives approved its own version of a Food Safety bill, it is generally expected that the House would have to accept a bill passed by the Senate without making additional changes, or no bill will be enacted this year. 

NPA staff and lobbyists have been working with our Congressional champions on the Food Safety bill and the Leahy Amendment for quite some time, and will continue to work to ensure that the legislation does not inhibit the ability of Americans to benefit from natural products. We will keep you posted on developments. 


Election Brings Changes to Congress that Will Impact the Natural Products Industry - NPA Warns Industry to be Alert during the Lame Duck Session

While some races may not be decided for weeks, the natural products industry can begin to take stock of the election results. “This was the most remarkable election in my 25 years in Washington,” said Natural Products Association (NPA) Executive Director and CEO John Gay, “and the effects will be felt almost immediately.” 

Although the new members of Congress won’t take their seats until January, the current Congress gets one more crack at legislating during the “lame duck” session that begins next week. “We’ve been preparing for the possibility that Senators and Representatives soon to be out of power may try to slip their pet proposals into must-pass pieces of legislation, like the spending bill,” said Gay. “We’ll have to keep a watch on them.”

One potential threat is legislation to grant additional enforcement powers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  “NPA members helped stop this proposal when Congress was debating the Wall Street reform bill this summer, but it could be brought back to life,” said Gay.

Looking ahead to the 112th Congress, Gay sees some significant changes for the industry. “The natural products sector has champions and threats coming from both sides of the aisle, so the fact that one party or the other is in control does not make or break us—the champions and a number of threats remain,” he said. “But the shift in leadership in the House may help as Representative Henry Waxman must now give up the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee, although he remains in Congress.” 

In the Senate, industry champions such as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) remain well-positioned to continue their work. One wild card is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who won re-election and will not have to face the voters again for six years. “Will he introduce another version of his Dietary Supplement Safety Act, or will he continue to work with Senator Hatch? That is a key question,” said Gay.

With additional authority unlikely to be granted by the new Congress, NPA expects federal regulators to test the limits of their existing powers. “We support their actions aimed at getting the bad actors out of the market,” said Gay, “but it is a problem if they target the legitimate industry, especially if they go beyond the current law to do so.”

Every election brings new members of Congress to Washington—members who probably do not understand the natural products industry. “NPA will be reaching out to the newly-elected members of Congress and their staffs to begin educating them, but we need the industry’s help,” said Gay. “The more these new Representatives and Senators hear from their constituents about the value of the industry, the better.” 

NPA urges retailers and suppliers to come to Washington, D.C., for the 2011 Natural Products Day, which likely will take place in March, pending announcement of the Congressional schedule.  “Nothing makes a greater impact than a face-to-face meeting with a constituent,” said Gay.

Gay offered one caveat on the election. “Whether you are happy or sad with the results, you should keep in mind that everything could change two years from now with this volatile electorate,” he said. “NPA will continue to work with Republican and Democratic allies to strengthen the industry’s position in Congress.”


House, Senate Conference Rejects Expanded FTC Powers
Victory for NPA, Industry, Thanks to Strong Grassroots, Lobbying Effort
In another victory for Natural Products Association members and the industry, early this morning, conferees on the Wall Street Reform bill (S. 3217) decided not to include in the final legislation sweeping new powers for the Federal Trade Commission. Such additional authority very likely would have led to advertising rules on the industry that would have undercut the protections of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).Health and Education Act (DSHEA).

This has been one of the top legislative priorities for the Natural Products Association for the last six months. We are proud of all the calls and letters written to your senators and representative. Good grassroots and good lobbying are a powerful combination.

NEW DIETARY GUIDELINES DRAFT MISSES MARK

NPA expresses “serious concern” on the direction of the report’s recommendations
 

On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, a draft report assessing revisions and recommendations to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. When finalized, the report will form the basis for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which will be released at the end of the year.
 

The Natural Products Association expressed serious concern about the direction of the report, most notably statements such as “a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement does not offer health benefits to healthy Americans."

“When less than 25 percent of the U.S.

population eats the recommended serving of five fruits and vegetables daily, how are Americans to get the vitamins and minerals they need?” says NPA Executive Director and CEO John Gay. “Advice to cut off a reliable and safe nutrition source, such as a daily multivitamin, doesn't seem logical or responsible.”

Public comments are now being accepted on the report. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to submit written comments through July 15, 2010. Oral testimony may be provided at a public meeting to be held in Washington, DC, on July 8.

“The Natural Products Association will be weighing in vigorously,” said Gay.

Read how to submit comments here:  Providing Comments on the Committee's Report


House, Senate in Final Talks on Expanded
FTC Powers

Financial Services Reform (S.3217) is heading to discussion as Financial Services conferees begin their meetings today. The Senate conferees are set; the House conferees were just recently named. As we mentioned earlier, the bill has passed the Senate, and while expansion of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) powers was kept out of the Senate bill, now the House and Senate are getting ready to work out the differences between the chambers' versions. The expansions being discussed could have a dire impact on the natural products industry.

Many of you responded to the last call to contact your senators, and deserve some of the credit for the decision of the Senate not to include the FTC powers provision in the bill they passed. But if you have not contacted your representatives and senators, please do it today, particularly if they are a conferee. It's especially important to contact conferee, but contact your representatives and senators regardless. (Representative Judy Biggert of the 13th district is a conferee).

Take action and send a message to your members of Congress, asking them to OPPOSE the FTC provision, and urging them to focus on strengthening the stability of our

economy, not regulating industries that had nothing to do with the financial crisis. At a time when businesses are struggling to both survive and create new jobs, adding burdensome new regulations and ceding more authority over your business to the FTC is just what the economy does not need.

Should these additional powers be granted to the FTC, you can expect to see the following:

  • The FTC creating advertising guidelines that are inconsistent with what is allowed under DSHEA and the FDA
  • The FTC acting as a legislative body, creating “rules” for industries like ours in areas in which it has no expertise
  • The FTC levying fines against businesses for practices it deems illegal without allowing the business to change its policies
  • The FTC levying fines against companies for “aiding and abetting” wrongdoing even when the companies did not know a violation was occurring
  • The FTC making, approving, and policing rules with virtually no oversight

In these critical times, it’s important to make our voice heard.  Please do your part


New Harkin-Hatch Bill

Measure preserves, fully implements DSHEA
 

Today, the Natural Products Association (NPA) offered its support of the Dietary Supplement Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2010, legislation that would provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with additional resources to enforce the strong, existing laws governing supplements, while also holding FDA accountable for their activities with the added resources. The bill was introduced today by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

“While some have called for additional regulations on supplements, Senators Harkin and Hatch understand that the real need is to fully enforce the stringent statutes already on the books, to the full extent of the law,” said NPA Executive Director and CEO John Gay. “The way to get the bad actors out of the industry is by putting more cops on the street, plain and simple.”

Until recently, the FDA experienced year after year of budget cuts, limiting the resources it needed to effectively regulate the industries under its

watch. The Dietary Supplement Full Implementation and Enforcement Act would authorize additional funds to the FDA specifically for enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), the 1994 bill that established the regulatory framework for supplements. The bill also requires FDA to file annual reports to Congress about how the Administration is regulating dietary supplements.

Further, the measure would tighten product-specific enforcement, require the release of the long- awaited New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) guidance, and double funding given to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) to expand research and consumer information about dietary supplements. 

NPA supported a similar full implementation bill introduced by Sens. Harkin and Hatch in the 108th Congress.

For the Good of It will continue to keep you informed on the progression of the bill..  

FTC Powers Bill Moves to Next Step:
A New Call to Action from the
Natural Products Association

 

Yesterday, Financial Services Reform (S.3217) passed the Senate. While expansion of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) powers was kept out of the Senate bill, now the House and Senate must work out the differences between the chambers' versions. The expansions being discussed could have a dire impact on the way you do business.

Many of you responded to the last call to contact your senators, and I think you deserve some of the credit for the decision of the Senate not to include the FTC powers provision in the bill they passed.  Now, we need you to act again by contacting both your representatives and senators today, urging them to focus on strengthening the stability of our economy, not regulating industries that had nothing to do with the financial crisis. At a time when businesses are struggling to both survive and create new jobs, adding burdensome new regulations and ceding more authority over your business to the FTC is just what the economy does not need.

Now is the time that your voice matters most. Should these additional powers be granted to the FTC, you can expect to see the following:

  • The FTC creating advertising guidelines that are inconsistent with what is allowed under DSHEA and the FDA
  • The FTC acting as a legislative body, creating “rules” for industries like ours in areas in which it has no expertise
  • The FTC levying fines against businesses for practices it deems illegal without allowing the business to change its policies
  • The FTC levying fines against companies for “aiding and abetting” wrongdoing even when the companies did not know a violation was occurring
  • The FTC making, approving, and policing rules with virtually no oversight

I encourage you to take action and send a new message to your members of Congress, urging them to OPPOSE the FTC provision. 



Where Does S. 3002 Stand Today?    

 

After a whirlwind of activity late last week, I wanted to give you an update on where things stand with S. 3002, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act proposed by Senators John McCain and Byron Dorgan

Senator McCain has told our Congressional champion Sen. Orrin Hatch that he intends to back away from S. 3002, and work with Hatch on amendments to the Food Safety Bill (S. 510) and the DSHEA full implementation legislation. McCain will not push any of the provisions of S. 3002 that we objected to, but will support S. 510's language on recall and registration. He also will seek language pushing for new dietary ingredient (NDI) guidance from the Food and Drug Administration, and to encourage more cooperation between the FDA and the Drug Enforcement Administration. We will need to keep an eye on these talks as they progress. Sen. Dorgan also is reportedly backing off S. 3002..

While McCain's shift is good news (and evidence of the effectiveness of grassroots), we should not let up our campaign, because the bill could easily be picked up by another member of Congress

Keep in mind that things change. Thursday night we were told that McCain was soon introducing a reworked bill.  By Friday morning, McCain had committed to working with Hatch. While this change is encouraging, the possibility remains that discussions could fail.

I want to thank you for your advocacy efforts so far, through your letters, e-mails and phone calls to your members of Congress

We will continue to provide you with updates about any changes to the bill's status

 

Save Our Supplements! Tell Your Senator to OPPOSE S. 3042, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act 

On February 4, 2010, Senators John McCain and Byron Dorgan introduced S. 3002, the "Dietary Supplement Safety Act."  This legislation would mandate that every dietary supplement would have to go through a brand new process of government review in order to stay on the market.

If this bill becomes law your health care choices will be drastically reduced, and many of the supplements available today will become illegal.  This and other provisions of this misguided legislation affect ALL dietary supplements, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, sports, and diet products.

The supposed purpose of the bill is to make

dietary supplements "safer," which is ironic because dietary supplements already have an excellent safety record.  It also ignores the fact that the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Federal Trade Commission, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration already have the powers they need to police the market.

If this concerns you, please go to www.saveoursupplements.org to send a note in opposition to S. 3002 directly to your two Senators or use the information on the website to write a personal letter.  Either way, you need to act immediately.

Do Not Let Congress Take Away Your Right To Dietary Supplements!

 


New Legislation Poses Threat to DSHEA  

February 3, 2010

At a press conference held earlier today, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced that he would be introducing legislation that would amend the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) additional powers

over retailers and suppliers in the dietary supplements industry. The Natural Products Association is reviewing McCain's bill, which is cosponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), and offers this initial analysis regarding the impact of the legislation on the industry.
 


Don’t let them take away your BHRT!
Right now pharmaceutical giants are aggressively lobbing FDA and Congress to restrict your access to BHRT and other compounded medicines.  If they are successful, big drug companies-instead of you and your prescriber-will decide what medicines you can take. Fortunately, there's a campaign underway to preserve your personal choice.  Patients and Professionals for Customized Care is bringing together patients, physicians and healthcare advocates who know how critical compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapies are to women suffering from menopausal symptoms.  Together, we can protect your access to BHRT.
Join P2C2 at www.savemybhrt.org today.

Don't Let Them Take Away Your Compound Medicines!

Big drug companies are lobbying federal regulators to restrict – and possibly deny – your access to compounded medicines.  If they are successful, big drug companies – instead of you and your prescriber – will decide what medicines you can take.  This restriction will allow the FDA to severely restrict what a compounding pharmacy can compound, what a physician can prescribe, AND, what compounded medication will be available to YOU!  Here’s the latest specifics…

Oppose FDA's Action on behalf of Wyeth to Restrict BHRT    Alert Date: January 2008

FDA recently took action on behalf of pharmaceutical manufacturer Wyeth – the giant drug maker of Premarin and Prempro, two hormone treatments for women that have been linked to cancer, heart disease and stroke by

the Women’s Health Initiative, NIH study - to impose harmful restrictions on the compounding and dispensing of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), specifically compounded medicines containing the drug estriol.  This action has critical implications for pharmacists, patients and physicians. 

Fortunately, there’s a new campaign underway to stop them.  By banning together, we can protect our

access to compounded medicines!  It’s easy - go to www.savemymedicine.org today to voice your concerns. If you do not have access to the internet, you can make your voice heard by contacting your representatives via phone or mail.  Contact information can be found below.

 


Your access to DHEA is in Jeopardy!

Your access to DHEA is in jeopardy! The Senate is considering a bill, S. 762, to classify DHEA as an anabolic steroid, adding it to the list of controlled substances and removing it from the market. H.R. 1249 is the companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. Your immediate help is needed to keep this safe and effective dietary supplement legal and accessible.

DHEA is not an anabolic steroid. It is a naturally occurring hormone that has a wide range of benefits, including maintaining muscle strength and strong bones, boosting immunity, and improving mood and sleep
patterns. Further studies suggest that DHEA may be helpful for such conditions as obesity, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. DHEA dietary

 

 supplements, which have been on the market for over 20 years, are derived from a plant in the wild yam family (Click here for more information.)

We need your help to keep DHEA legal. Enter your ZIP code in the box above to send a message to Congress asking your Senators and Representative to oppose S. 762 and H.R. 1249 and any amendment to restrict access to DHEA to minors. Congress should not restrict access to a dietary supplement that has given health to millions of Americans. Take action now!

Sincerely,

Save Our Supplements
www.saveoursupplements.org

 


Thank you for your Support in Ensuring Congress Passed  
Important Dietary Supplement Legislation.

Thanks to your overwhelming responses, Congress last week passed S. 3546, the Dietary Supplement and Non-Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Act (the “AER bill”). Help ensure this landmark legislation becomes law by urging President Bush to sign it.  Please lend your voice to a chorus of many others that support this bill, including the Natural Products Association and the other leading dietary supplement trade organizations.
 
The Issue
 
Contrary to what you may have heard, this legislation will not affect the availability of dietary supplements. Nor does it grant the Food and Drug Administration new powers to regulate dietary supplements. The government already tracks all adverse experiences that could be
 

 

new is that manufacturers who get reports of consumers being seriously harmed by their products can’t keep them secret. While we believe such occurrences are extremely rare, if they do happen, reporting is the right thing to do.

How You Can Help:
Thank you for supporting the long-term health of our fellow citizens and the natural products industry.

Sincerely,
The Natural Products Association
 

 


Two Dietary Supplements
Could Save Health Care
System $5.5 Billion

Rising health care costs are one of the country’s most pressing issues. National annual health expenditures more than doubled from 1993 to 2004 — when they reached a total of $1,793.5 billion. And by the year 2012, they’re expected to nearly double again. A new report released by the Lewin Group, a national health care and human services consulting firm, indicates that two dietary supplements, omega-3 fatty adds and lutein/zeaxanthin, could save the U.S. healthcare system $5.5 billion over five years, while improving the quality of life of thousands of seniors.
 

The report

Entitled "An Evidence-Based Study of the Role of Dietary Supplements in Helping Seniors Maintain their Independence,” the report was commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) and published in January of this year. The authors critically reviewed the research literature on omega-3 fatty acids’ ability to prevent coronary heart disease (CHD) and lutein/zeaxanthin’s ability to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

 

The impact of CHD and AMD

Age-related diseases such as CHD and AMD can considerably hamper seniors’ independence. CHD, characterized by blockage of the coronary arteries, can cause angina

and heart attack, require angioplasty and bypass surgery, and seriously disable its victims,

AMD, which gradually destroys sharp, central vision, affects a person’s ability to read, drive, and write. It is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over age 65.

 

In addition to compromising quality of life, both diseases have a hard-hitting financial impact: The less independent a senior becomes, the more paid
help is needed — whether that
senior becomes, the more paid  help is needed — whether that takes the form of an in-house aide or a nursing facility.

The cost is shouldered by the older person, the family, and the health care system.

 

Key study findings

Based on their research review, the study authors estimated that daily intake of approximately 1,800 mg of omega-3 fatty acids by seniors could prevent nearly 400,000 hospitalizations and physician visits due to CHD over a five-year period (2006-2010). That translates to a savings of $3 billion.

Preventing AMD-related vision loss could also significantly curtail the number of older adults transitioning to dependency.  The report estimates that daily intake of 6-10 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin would help nearly 100,000 seniors avoid the transition to greater dependency through not needing care in the community, and help an additional 30,000 avoid admission to a nursing fatality due to loss of vision over the same five-year period — a cost savings of $2.5 billion.

In a separate study researching preventive supplementation for those at high risk for AMD, the federal government’s National Eye Institute found that taking high levels of antioxidants and zinc can reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by about 25 percent.

These and other scientific reports show promise that improving the health prospects of our senior citizens can be aided by antioxidants and other specific nutrients.

 


     No Compound
    Medicines?

We’re contacting you because legislation is being considered in Congress that would allow you the benefit of tax breaks for purchasing some dietary supplements. You already get these tax benefits for OTC drugs, why not for dietary supplements that have proven health benefits? This bill is expected to be acted upon soon, however more co-sponsors are needed to ensure success and that’s where you can have an important role in the campaign.

The issue:

Two types of health plans, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and health Flex Spending Accounts (FSAs), allow participants certain tax breaks for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that are used for the “prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness.” But dietary supplements, even those with proven health benefits, are not included.

A key provision of H. R. 1545 is that only those dietary supplements and foods that have been granted the right by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use a specific health claim, based on scientific research, would have tax breaks under this proposal. Here are some examples of the supplements and health conditions they affect that would be included:

   •   Birth defects: Folic acid
   •   Cancer: Antioxidant
          vitamins, selenium   
  

  •   Coronary heart disease:
          Soy protein, sterol/
          stanol esters and  
          omega-3 fatty acids
   •   Osteoporosis: Calcium
   •   Vascular disease: B
          vitamins

Such dietary supplements and foods help prevent diseases in ways comparable to OTC drugs and the tax code should permit expenditures for them under FSA and HSA rules, resulting in tax breaks for you.

How You Can Help:

Save Our Supplements invites you to become a voice for supplement choice. Please click the link below to visit SaveOurSupplements.org and join the list,

On the site you can ask your U.S. Representative to support the Dietary Supplement and Healthy Meal Replacement Tax Parity ACT, so that you can have the same tax breaks for foods and dietary supplements with approved health claims as for other products that maintain health and prevent illness.

Please be sure to add your personal comments to the draft to make your message unique, make sure to include specifics if you or your family members are using any of the items listed above. If your Representative has already committed to support this bill, you’ll see a draft “thank you” letter and a request to help recruit additional support.



Sign Up to Save our Supplements!

 

 
  
     
  
  
  

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