Washington, D.C.—Grassroots efforts are helping to fight the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) draft guidance for new dietary ingredients (NDIs).

The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA) encouraged citizens to tell Congress they disapprove of it on a Call-In Lobby Day. Some 20,000 individuals called legislators to say that NDI document goes beyond what Congress had intended under the DSHEA. The guidance could be so burdensome on firms that 20,000–42,000 supplements could be removed from market (and increase the cost of those remaining).

The efforts seem to have made a dent. Says Gretchen DuBeau executive and legal director of ANH-USA, “Our activists reported to us that Congressional offices heard from dozens of people opposing the NDI daft guidance before noon that day...We were heard and the message was clear; people will not stand on the sideline while there is a threat to their natural health access.”

Since July, 355,000 messages were sent to Congress about the NDIs document, “and we’re just ramping up our efforts,” DuBeau says. The group will expand its email- and letter-writing campaign as well as hold another Call-In Lobby Day in the future.

Meanwhile, Citizens for Health (CFH) called on shoppers to pressure FDA to withdraw its NDIs document. On its Web site (www.citizens.org), consumers can find their legislators and ask them to pressure FDA to withdraw the document. Within three weeks of starting its campaign, 3,089 CFH supporters sent 9,983 letters to 527  legislators.

CFH says the NDIs document could destroy the supplements market, cause the loss of jobs, and would encourage less innovative and more costly supplements to be sold. “CFH’s over 100,000 supporters are making their voices heard, and I am confident that as our action campaign rolls out further, and is complemented by state-specific calls-to-arms, that we will see a massive outpouring of condemnation against this misguided ‘guidance’ and all that it represents,” says James J. Gormley, CFH vice president and senior policy advisor.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2011