Combing through the WholeFoods Magazine archives while writing a tribute to Stanley Jacobson, I hit pay dirt with a statement he made in 1985 during his run for the presidency of the National Nutritional Foods Association (now NPA).

“This industry has been largely responsible for turning the health ‘fad’ into a real way of life for mainstream America and creating the major market we all work in.

"Everybody’s talking about nutrition, and it is the mom and pop NNFA member stores that have created this national awareness.”

Stan won the election and his efforts were instrumental to the adoption of DSHEA, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. Everybody’s still talking about nutrition. The advocate and educator passed on Aug. 7 and did not live to see multivitamin supplements have their latest day in Congress, but he must be smiling.

In an unprecedented confluence of events, two separate legislative initiatives are working their way through the process in Washington, D.C., aimed at helping the most vulnerable of our population benefit from the nutritional boost associated with multivitamin supplements and minerals.

The “WIC Improvement Act,” H.R. 3529, was introduced this summer by Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA). The Natural Products Association created a website,www.saveoursupplements.orgmaking it easy to write to your local congressman seeking co-sponsorship of the initiative. We encourage you to do it now and to share the link with those who share your passion for the topic.

WIC serves roughly 8 million low-income at-risk pregnant and postpartum women and their infants and children up to age 5. The bill would add multivitamins to the WIC voucher system — alongside eggs, milk, cheese and cereal. It could expand the supplements’ reach into the so-called “food deserts” where fresh produce is unavailable or unaffordable.

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL), meanwhile, is expected to introduce the SNAP Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act when Congress reconvenes in September. It would allow multivitamin-minerals to be included as an acceptable purchase category under the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (This is what used to go by the name food stamps and is not the same as WIC).

It costs the government nothing to include supplements in SNAP. It simply gives those with limited means a chance to fulfill the nutritional needs of their families.

Why would anyone say no?

Photo by Gi Pamperien

Editor-in-Chief Laurie Petersen



P.S. I look forward to meeting many of you in Baltimore at Natural Products Expo East.