Only if you want to stay in business! If you think you’re up against it now, see what happens if there is no one standing between you and devastating legislation, at both the state and federal levels. That’s exactly what is happening, and happening quickly.
Without us. Who exactly is “us?” “Us” is the Natural Products Association and its regional affiliates. My region, NPA East, is especially focused on protecting its members from proposed legislation in the 12 states that comprise our region. NPA focuses on proposed legislation coming out of Congress.
NPA East is involved in the ongoing fight to protect the rights of natural products retailers and their suppliers. It is a time-consuming and costly battle, fought primarily by one full time staff member and our volunteer board of directors, who dedicate precious little available free time to help ensure the very survival of our industry. However, it’s impossible to do it alone. We need every retailer and supplier in our region to join the battle.
In just the past few years, NPA and NPA East have played significant roles in killing or delaying proposed bills designed to, at the very least, make life harder for you or made it impossible for you to do business at all. Here’s a sample:
- KILLED! 3553 A. 5669: The “Dietary Supplements Safety Committee would create the equivalent of a local “FDA” in New York State with powers to regulate sales of dietary foods and supplements.
- KILLED! S3556, Dieticians and Nutritionists Licensure Act would require certification from New York State to sell and recommend dietary supplements to consumers.
- Withdrawn! A01396: Dietary Food and Supplements Act would require all dietary supplements sold in New York State to contain a label that notifies consumers that these supplements are not approved or tested by the FDA. The cost alone for suppliers and manufacturers to comply would run into thousands of dollars. Several manufacturers who currently sell product in New York would be very likely to stop manufacturing and selling product in New York. And those who would continue to manufacture and sell products in New York would pass on these additional costs to the New York retailers, who, in turn, might be forced to charge their customers higher prices than their competition in neighboring states.
- Delayed! Massachusetts bill H-3471 seeks to put dietary supplements for weight loss or muscle behind the counter, restrict purchases to customers over 18, and direct store staff to explain to all purchasers, in detail, the alleged dangers of using these supplements. The proposed bill, which is moving up the approval chain, not only limits your customers’ access to these supplements but sets a far-reaching precedent by, for the first time, putting food behind the counter.
“We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
This nearly 250 year old quotation from Benjamin Franklin is applicable even today in our industry’s volatile environment. If we don’t join together to protect our industry, independent retailers could get picked off one by one by the effects of business-crippling regulation and unfair competition.
Even when times are good, our industry is under unrelenting attacks, at both the federal and local levels, by ill-informed legislators seeking to restrict or completely prevent us from doing business and serving the public. Under current economic conditions, there is every reason for us to believe these same legislators will continue to turn up the heat. When they do, NPA East wants to be ready to respond on your behalf. And for that to happen, we need your support as an active member in our Association.
Ready to join the fight?
Adam Goodman is the President of the NPA East region, President of Nature’s Supplement Brokers Brand Development and Vice President of Retail Sales for Purity Products.
NOTE: The opinions presented here are those of the writer.
Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 6/13/2016