It was good to be back advocating for the natural products industry in Washington D.C. after a four-year hiatus. I forgot how productive and enlightening a day on Capitol Hill can be. Thank you to the Natural Products Association (NPA) for organizing Fly-In Day, which was held on June 7. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces from across the country, and to meet new folks, too. I was very proud of our New Jersey Contingency.  

Why do we do focus on advocacy? To protect Dietary Supplements, our ingredient suppliers and brands, the retailers who sell these products, and the consumers who buy them. We also are working to create more opportunities and awareness.  

If you have not spoken to your state legislatures, both local and national, it is an important thing to do.  NPA has a scheduled day each year. So does the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), which held its Day on the Hill on June 21. Or you can advocate on your own. The important thing is to add your voice to help protect DSHEA and fight for our rights. Next year, we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of DSHEA , and so much has changed since it was passed in 1994. We need to remain active and vigilant.

Tips, courtesy of NPA, to keep in mind when lobbying: 

Remember Your Goal. When meeting with an elected official, your short-term goal is to introduce yourself, your business, and your issues. Your long-term goal should be to establish a line of communication so you can set up subsequent meetings and build a lasting relationship. 

Be respectful. 

Don’t be offended if you are meeting with a staffer. Many staffers are young, but know that they are issue experts, and they function as the eyes and ears for their bosses.  

Be concise. Stick to the key topic while offering as much information as possible, and be persuasive. Remember that they do not have the depth of knowledge of dietary supplements that you have. Use layman’s terms and avoid the use of acronyms that only industry members would know. 

Have a clear ask. Be focused with your request and stay on topic.  

Stress local impact. Outline your issue in terms of how it will affect you and other constituents in your community. 

• Leave materials behind.

Be open. Invite them to  your facility. 

Follow up. Keep in touch, and be a resource for them.

Key issues discussed at NPA’s Fly-In Day 

(and that we cover often in WholeFoods Magazine): 

• Broadening SNAP & WIC to make certain supplements eligible for purchase 

• Combating counterfeiting in the supplement industry 

• Supporting reimbursement eligibility of dietary supplements for HSAs/FSAs/HRAs 

Mandatory Product Listing

FTC Warning Letters

CBD legislation



We ended the day with a reception, where we invited the staffers and elected officials to join us so we would have more opportunity to discuss issues and cement relationships. Following the day of meetings, we left feeling invigorated and accomplished, and with plans to follow up. 

We must remember that we are in control of our situation, and we need to fight for what we feel is right. Write letters to your elected officials, and visit them to take care of the issues that affect your business. Your trade associations are there to help you stay on top of issues. Use your resources! Visit NPA’s Advocacy page at to stay informed. And subscribe to our In The Know newsletters for updates on the latest news from our trade associations. 

To quote NPA : “Your voice is essential for educating our legislators on the importance of access to natural products for the nation’s health and well-being. We thank you for coming together as an industry and being passionate about the issues that impact the health of the consumers whom we serve.”