In a SupplySide West talk entitled, “Regs and Legs,” Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association (NPA), provided an update of regulatory and legislative matters of interest to this industry.

For starters, he commented that the industry is losing many long-time Congressional friends, including Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Tom Harkin (D-IA). “We’re really working on developing new champions,” he stated, using Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) as an example. Heller is part of the Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee, which held a hearing about weight loss product advertising in which television personality and surgeon Mehmet Oz, M.D., testified.

Fabricant also predicted that Super PACS will be interested in supporting issues that hit home in this industry such as GMOs. “If you’re in this business, you’re involved in politics—whether you like it or not,” he stated.

Another interesting prediction deals with how inspections, warning letters, seizures, injunctions and the like are dealt out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Fabricant showed a U.S. map marked with recent FDA activity by local FDA district offices and stated, “There is going to be a lot more comparison at FDA of how districts compare.” He also said industry should get used to the agency having a watchful eye on the supplements industry and taking action in the form of warning letters, seizures and injunctions when it sees fit. “There’s a clear will.” He also noted that FDA understands the power of press and is using that to its advantage.

Fabricant also recounted some major FDA regulatory actions from 2014 and made some predictions for what could be coming down the pipes for 2015, such as continuing to look at caffeine, possibly re-reviewing some substances with GRAS status where science might suggest another look is warranted, continued debate over the term “natural,” possible legislation by fiat and some use of adverse event reporting data.

FTC also has this industry on its radar, and that will likely continue. “FTC has also been very active and will continue to be,” he stated.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, December 2014 (online 10/24/14)