Washington, D.C.—For the 15th year running, the Natural Products Association (NPA) brought together industry members to lobby in favor of issues related to the natural products industry.
Supporters gathered on March 27 to talk to lawmakers about how the proposed New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) guidance could affect businesses. Congressmen and women were also asked to join the Dietary Supplement Caucus, which addresses supplement regulation, and to support the Family and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011, which would let individuals use money saved in Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts for supplements and meal replacements (up to $1,000).
The goal, according to Nick Pascoe, co-owner of Bear Foods Natural Market, Chelan, WA, was “to try to get some support from legislators [on these issues], though they may not have them on their radars, or be on the lookout for relevant bills when they’re coming down the pike or when there’s any chance for them to get involved.”
Pascoe, who was attending Lobby Day for the second year, had interesting meetings with aides of several legislators from Washington State. In a meeting with Senator Patty Murray’s legislative aide, for instance, Pascoe discussed several issues, including genetically modified fish. Senator Murray had co-sponsored a bill to ban the GE salmon. “Her aide was incredibly knowledgeable and knew exactly where the bill was in the process…it was a very stimulating conversation,” he stated.
In a separate meeting, Pascoe reported Senator Maria Cantwell’s aides were informed about the NDIs guidance and felt the supplement industry might benefit from additional regulations. He countered, however, by pointing out that Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa (an original co-sponsor of DSHEA) met with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in opposition of the proposed guidance. Said Pascoe, “It was great to see that Senator Cantwell’s office is keeping their finger on the pulse of FDA regulatory issues, specifically with NDIs. We were able to express, from our perspective, that this is going to be a problem. While it’s good to have regulations, we want that kind of trust to be maintained in the industry…it can very easily reach the point of oppression and be a problem for the industry as a whole.”
Participants also attended an evening reception at which the NPA gave its Congressional Champion Awards to Senator Harkin; Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah; Representative Dan Burton of Indiana; Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah; Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey; and Representative Jared Polis of Colorado.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2012, online 4-10-12