Industry News

Associations Oppose Supplement Labeling Bill

September 1, 2011

The Natural Products Association (NPA), Washington, D.C., has launched a grassroots campaign to oppose the “Dietary Supplement Labeling Act” recently introduced in Congress by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). NPA is urging its more than 1900 members to ask their legislators to oppose the bill by sending them a letter at www.npainfo.org/Durbin. Among other provisions, the bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (and presumably FDA) to create a list of ingredients and proprietary blends of ingredients that “could cause potentially serious adverse events.” According to NPA, this overly broad language (e.g., no definition is offered of “could cause”) takes the regulation of supplements well beyond the current, effective rules governing the industry.

Sen. Durbin cited the issue of energy drinks and foods masquerading as dietary supplements when introducing the legislation. The most controversial part of the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act may be its requirement for product registration, a change that Sen. Durbin has sought in the past.

“The NPA supports actions by the FDA to hold accountable those who violate the law, and we’ve done our part through self-regulatory activities to ensure accuracy, quality and safety in the dietary supplement industry,” said John Gay, NPA executive director and CEO. “We believe, however, that current regulations are sufficient. The U.S. supplement industry has an excellent safety record, and burdensome, duplicative new regulations are not needed.”

“It may appear that this proposal has an uphill climb in this Congress,” he added, “but it is important that we do not let bad bills get any traction. If we do not make our position known, we could find ourselves facing a bill with 30 co-sponsors. Things change in Congress, and when and if this bill moves we want it to start from the one yard line, not from the 50.”

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Washington, D.C., also said it opposes the bill. Steve Mister, president and CEO, CRN, called it “misguided.”

“The bill contains duplicative requirements that already exist under current law that gives FDA the proper legal authority to take action to protect consumers and maintain safety standards,” he said. “FDA needs to continue working toward becoming a more efficient steward of its resources, and we continuously call on the agency to use its power under the law. We urge Sen. Durbin to join us in that effort.”

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