Food Bill Strips
Protection for Dietary Supplements
On March 8th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Uniformity for Food Act (H.R. 4167) by a vote of 238 to 139 after amending it to exclude all dietary supplements from its scope, according to the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Silver Spring, MD. H.R. 4167 would generally prohibit individual states from requiring food products in interstate trade to conform to state regulations or labeling rules that are not identical to federal provisions. It would also allow states to petition for an exemption or for the establishment of a national standard regarding any requirement under federal laws relating to food regulation. The original draft of the bill would have extended to all foods, including dietary supplements, but an amendment offered by Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) revised the exclusion section of the original version so that the proposed law would have no effect on dietary supplements.
“AHPA has supported this legislation because we believe that marketers of goods in interstate trade need to be able to label their products with a single label for the whole country,” stated AHPA president Michael McGuffin. “We will now have to reconsider that support, and can think of no reason why the rational approach originally described in this bill should be replaced by an irrational return to a patchwork of state labeling rules for supplements. We will make every effort to see to it that any Senate companion bill addresses this inconsistency.”
The National Uniformity for Food Act would not override all state-imposed food regulations. It would maintain an individual state’s authority to address imminent hazards and to require consumer advisories relating to food sanitation imposed on food establishments, such as restaurants.
Loren Israelsen, executive director, Utah Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), Salt Lake City, UT, says if this version of the bill were to become law, Proposition 65 would no longer apply to food products, only dietary supplements.
At this point, its passage in the Senate remains uncertain.