309 Hart Senate Bldg
387 Russell Senate Office
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Phone: (202) 224-2854
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Willowbrook, IL 60527
726-4998 Phone: (630)
How the Massive Beef Recall Could Be a Chance to Reform Industry
From the meaty stuffing in Hot Pockets to grass-fed beef,
millions of pounds were affected.
February 25, 2014 By
cloud of mystery still hangs over the closure earlier this
month of Northern California’s only slaughterhouse.
Since mid-January, three recalls have been made on meat
processed at the Rancho Feeding Corp. facility in Petaluma. The
USDA says meat from the facility was unfit for human consumption
and that diseased and unsound animals were processed without the
full benefit of federal inspection. A lot of meat was affected,
including some used in Hot Pockets, the favored snack of
latchkey kids and basement dwellers.
Is a New Policy Behind USDA's Recall of 8.7 Million Pounds of
So far, more than 8.7 million pounds have been recalled. While
the USDA says there have been no reports of illness linked to
the meat, that’s just about all it's saying.
What prompted the action? Was it E. coli? Mad cow disease? Were
USDA inspectors not on-site or compromised in some way?
Bill Marler, a food safety attorney in Seattle, says it may
never be known because much of the meat has already been
“It’s everywhere—hell, it’s in Hot Pockets. What they’re trying
to do is claw back as much of it as possible because there’s a
risk that it came from a diseased, unsound animal,” says Marler.
The recall was sparked in January by an unknown product before
being expanded, Marler says.
"Clearly they have looked at more and said there’s a bigger
problem here, recalled it back to a full year, and then called
investigators,” he continued.
While plenty of the meat ended up in products like Hot Pockets
or was sold at national supermarkets such as Kroger or Walmart,
the slaughter facility had also been used by small
grass-fed-beef producers, who say they aren’t getting important
information from the USDA on what prompted the recall or whether
they’ll be able to sell any meat that had been processed at the
Many small ranchers worry the plant’s closure and recall will
put them out of business, or they're bracing for a painful
financial hit. Even Bill Niman, owner of BN Ranch, is caught up
in the recall. Niman slaughtered 426 cattle at Rancho
Feeding Corp. last year. Much of that meat, which is still
stocked in his freezers, is now considered condemned by the
for the Image: Who Gets to Define the Meat Industry?
Another meat producer, LeftCoast Grassfed published an open
letter to American Grassfed Association members on Friday. In
it, it wrote, “At this point, we don’t have any information from
the USDA about what happened.”
“The recent incident at Rancho leaves ranchers struggling to
understand why the beef we all spent years carefully
order to assure its wholesomeness and safety has been recalled,
especially when there has not been a single report of illness or
incident to justify these measures,” the letter reads.
It’s unlikely that LeftCoast and other ranchers hungry for
information will be
The crisis could spur the right kind of thinking among powerful
people, but Dimock worries that the push to find long-term
solutions to lack of capacity in the meat processing system
won't go far enough.
“There needs to be alternatives,” he says. “We need policy
makers and business leaders to make sure the grass-fed meat and
small-scale ranching industry doesn’t sputter out."
February 10, 2014 By
Nearly 9 million pounds of beef processed by Rancho
Feeding Corp. in Petaluma, Calif., were recalled by the United
States Department of Agriculture over the weekend. Wholesalers
and retail establishments in California, Florida, Illinois, and
Texas stocked the suspect meat.
In a press release issued on Saturday, the Department’s
Food Safety and Inspection Service said the 8,742,700 pounds of
beef were being recalled because the company “processed diseased
and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the
benefit or full benefit of federal inspection.”
for the Image: Who Gets to Define the Meat Industry?
While the weight figure—representing just over a year’s worth of
beef products from the company—is certainly headline grabbing,
the reason the USDA offered for initiating the recall is what
Farm Sanctuary’s Gene Baur finds most intriguing. The founder of
the animal rights group said, “The USDA in the past has
explicitly said that diseased animals can be used for food.”
This despite the human health risks, such as those associated
with mad cow disease, that can result from eating diseased
animals. “I would like to hope that this is a new,
stronger standard” regarding diseased animals entering the food
chain, Baur said, but he thinks the lack of inspection at Rancho
Feed Corp. played a major role in the decision. “It’s still
common and legal for diseased animals to go into the food
supply,” he said.
Ironically, according to the FSIS release, the uninspected
products somehow bear the USDA mark of inspection. The recalled
beef can be identified by the “EST. 527” present in the seal.
Despite Baur's second, more cautious explanation, this recall
falls into Class I on USDA's risk scale, which is defined as a
situation “where there is a reasonable probability that the use
of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences
or death.” The press release states unequivocally that “the
products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome
or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from
commerce,” suggesting that the "diseased and unsound" animals,
and the health risks they may present, did factor into the
decision. No illnesses have been reported as yet.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014.
A trial conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital has
uncovered a benefit for creatine in delaying the symptoms of
the inherited neurodegenerative disorder known as Huntington
disease in asymptomatic adults. Mutation of a gene that
expresses the huntingtin protein interferes with energy
production, depleting adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and
damaging the brain. Creatine, an over-the-counter
nutritional supplement, aids in the restoration of ATP and
the maintenance of cellular energy. The findings will be
published in the March 11, 2014 issue of the journal
The trial included 109 men
and women with a family history of Huntington disease, some
of whom were aware of carrying a mutated form of the gene
that causes the disease. The trial design permitted subjects
to enroll without being informed of their status. In
addition to 19 participants who were aware of carrying the
disease mutation, 26 of the 45 additional subjects were
identified by the researchers as carriers. "More than 90
percent of those in the United States who know they are at
risk for Huntington disease because of their family history
have abstained from genetic testing, often because they fear
discrimination or don't want to face the stress and anxiety
of knowing they are destined to develop such a devastating
disease," commented lead author Herminia Diana Rosas, MD, of
the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease.
"Many of these individuals would still like to help find
treatments, and this trial design allows them to participate
while respecting their autonomy, their right not to know
their personal genetic information."
Researchers from the Salk
Institute for Biological Studies and the University of
California, Irvine report the discovery of the ability of
the compound fisetin to slow disease progression and reduce
premature death in experimental models of Huntington
disease, a neurodegenerative disorder. The findings were
published online on October 15, 2010 in Human Molecular
Salk Cellular Neurobiology
Laboratory senior staff scientist Pamela Maher, PhD and her
associates had previously found that fisetin, which occurs
in vegetables and fruit such as strawberries, activates the
Ras/ERK pathway, which is important in brain development and
cognition, and is less active in Huntington disease.
Administration of fisetin to cultured nerve cells that
expressed a form of the huntingtin protein which is mutated
in Huntington disease resulted in the survival of cells
whose numbers would have otherwise been diminished by half
within a few days.
In another experiment,
fruit flies that overexpressed mutant huntingtin protein in
brain neurons, which reduces life span and causes defective
eye development, regained their normal life span and had
less eye defects after consuming fisetin. A third experiment
in a mouse model of Huntington disease found a 30 percent
increase in life span and a delay in motor defects in
animals that received fisetin. Further research by the team
revealed a similar benefit for resveratrol, a polyphenol
related to fisetin. "Fisetin, resveratrol and related
compounds might be useful for the treatment of Huntington
disease by virtue of their unique ability to activate ERK,"
the authors conclude.
Dr Maher noted that in
Huntington disease "Cells are damaged and dying before there
are overt symptoms. If patients know they have the mutation,
then they could potentially start treatment before the start
showing symptoms, which might be more effective than waiting
for the symptoms to appear, as many do now."
Godiva: Protect cocoa workers and West African children by going
85-year-old premium chocolatier, is a company on the rise.
Acquired by the Turkish conglomorateYildiz Holding in 2007, the
company enjoyed sales of more than $500 million. This year,
Godiva CEO Jim Goldman says the company is on track to achieve
sales of more than $765 million, thanks in part to rapid
product expansion in recent years, including new Godiva
chocolate bars in supermarkets, and new Godiva-coated products
like pretzels and Oreos. But one thing that hasn't changed in
recent years is Godiva's failure to protect vulnerable workers
at the beginning of its supply chain. While other high-
companies use third-party certification to ensure that their
products aren't tainted with child slave labor and the
exploitation of cocoa-producing communities, Godiva does
not. The company insists that it requires its suppliers "to be
in compliance with labor laws," and donates some of its growing
profits to organizations providing charitable work in
cocoa-producing nations, but these efforts are no substitute
for actually building a fair supply chain. For this reason,
we are urging Godiva to go Fair Trade. No West African child
should be forced to endure grueling cocoa-field labor for low or
no pay so that American children can enjoy Godiva-coated Oreos.
Monsanto GMO Update
On Election Day, Washington's GMO labeling ballot initiative came
up just short—garnering 49% of the vote in a low turnout
We didn't know for sure until now because of how long it takes
to count mail-in ballots in Washington. Monsanto's
late-September multimillion-dollar negative ads helped depress
voter turnout and made this one of the most expensive ballot
initiative fights in Washington's history.2
More than 400 MoveOn members from across the country volunteered
to make phone calls with the Yes on 522 campaign. Members across
the state knocked on doors, shared videos, and talked to their
friends and neighbors about why consumers have a right to know
what's in their food. Rest assured, this won't be the last
fight we wage against Monsanto on GMO labeling.
Earlier this year, MoveOn members in more than 40 states
campaigned for new GMO labeling laws. Thanks to that work
alongside progressive allies, more than 20 states will be
considering GMO labeling laws in 2014. And leaders in Washington
are already talking about getting this initiative back on the
ballot in 2016, when higher turnout should make for a more
So let's take the lesson from this setback in Washington—that
corporations will spend
mountains of money to buy elections—to motivate leaders and
donors across the country to win on GMO labeling. We did it in
Connecticut, we did it in Maine, and you can help do it in other
states next year.
here to launch a campaign for GMO labeling in Illinois.
Thanks for all you did to support GMO labeling this year, and for
what you'll do going forward.
–Garlin, David, Jessica, Eric, and the rest of the team
1. "I-522 trails in all but 4 counties," The Seattle Times,
November 5, 2013
2. "Washington state voters reject labeling of GMO foods," USA
Today, November 6, 2013
3. "Food-labeling supporters say fight is moving to
statehouses," The Seattle Times, November 6, 2013
Bill S.1425 Hangs in the Balance
Dick Durbin’s destructive Dietary Supplement Labeling Act awaits
September 27, 2013
Senator Dick Durbin’s latest attack on nutritional
supplements—the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act—sits waiting to
be unleashed on your health freedom. Durbin’s bill, also known
as S.1425, has been assigned to a Congressional committee. That
committee will review S.1425 and make a decision on whether or
not the bill should proceed to the Senate.
This means that right now we have a window of opportunity to
send a strong message on Durbin’s S.1425. With a loud outcry to
our elected officials in Congress, we can nip S.1425 in the bud.
If we make enough noise, perhaps we can stop Dick Durbin—and his
repeated attacks on your health freedom—once and for all.
Falling in Line
We must stop this destructive bill now, because S.1425 may be
picking up steam with some influential agencies. For example,
Consumers Union (affiliated with Consumer Reports, a notorious
supplement-basher), has issued a statement of endorsement for
S.1425. Consumers Union’s statement justifies its support of
S.1425 by saying “ ... numerous ingredients found in a variety
of supplements... pose significant dangers to consumers.” And
with that vague, baseless statement, it becomes abundantly clear
that Consumers Union has cheerfully fallen in line with Durbin’s
Back here in reality, there are actual facts that show
nutritional supplements have a legendary track record of safety.
Over 180 million people take nutritional supplements every day.
Yes, there are a “variety of supplements” with “numerous
ingredients.” But these supplements and ingredients are
Early analysis of adverse event reporting suggested that one out
of every 303,000 people taking supplements experiences a
significant adverse event. Without proof of causality, the real
number of events may be even smaller. So where exactly are the
“significant dangers to consumers” that Consumers Union cites?
Think for Yourself
What about you? Have you ever had an adverse event from a
nutritional supplement? How about your friends? Or family? Ask
around, and you will see truth and reality: Supplements are
safe. In his Dietary Supplement Labeling Act, Durbin appears to
be fabricating a supplement threat that simply does not exist.
But the scary part is that if enough people buy into Durbin’s
fiction, it will be treated as fact—and the safe, natural
nutritional supplements that have been enhancing your life for
years might be ripped out of your hands forever.
and type in S.1425, and see for yourself exactly what this bill
says. In the full text, you will see the possibility of FDA
regulatory chains wrapping around your health freedom and
starting to tighten. You will see language about the Institute
of Medicine evaluating and judging nutritional supplements’
safety—even though the Dietary Supplement Health and Education
Act (DSHEA) has already established that medicine and
supplements must be treated as separate. You will see section
after section of draconian measures that will entangle the
nutritional supplement industry and bring it crashing down,
stopping all of the life-enhancing natural health innovations on
Put the Bill to Bed
It’s time to tell Dick Durbin that enough is enough! Durbin’s
destructive S.1425 bill now hangs in the balance. Let’s join
together and tip this bill into oblivion. Contact your local
Congressperson today and tell him or her that you do not want
Durbin’s Dietary Supplement Labeling Act S.1425 to move forward
by another inch. Ask them to quash S.1425 today!
New Bill Says Doctor Can't Give You an IV Vitamin or Mineral if
Not in Unrelated Drug!
September 27, 2013
federal bill with a new and dangerous provision may be voted
upon this weekend, and we need your help to amend it!
compounding bill we have been telling you about has
now been scrapped because of the outcry from consumers like you.
That is the good news. They started over from scratch.
Here’s the bad news.
They slipped in a new and very bad provision. This provision
says that your doctor can only order a vitamin or mineral or
other nutrient IV if the ingredients are already pre-approved
or in some unrelated, synthetic, and FDA approved drug. This is
More bad news. The
same bill will likely be voted on in the House right after the
Senate without changes.
injected into your veins) are very, very important for natural
medicine. Please don’t let them make some really important
compounded IV medications illegal! Someone you love may
desperately need them.
more about this terrible provision on
our website, and take
Senate has just passed the Continuing Resolution without the
Monsanto Rider! This is a tremendous victory—and is entirely
thanks to your support. Let's now get this new threat dropped
from the compounding bill!
Durbin, Blumenthal Reintroduce Supplement Labeling Bill
August 2, 2013 By Josh Long 0 Comments
Posted in News, Legislation, Government, Label Claims, Labeling,
Adverse Event Reporting (AERs), Food and Drug Administration
(FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Council for Responsible
Nutrition (CRN), American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)
WASHINGTON—A bill that has been reintroduced by Sens. Dick
Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) would require
manufacturers of dietary supplements to register their products
with FDA and furnish a description of each product, its
ingredients and a copy of the label. Manufacturers also would be
required to notify FDA if they removed a product from the
First introduced in June 2011, the Dietary Supplement Labeling
Act is designed, in part, to provide consumers with more
information about the potential risks of dietary supplements and
empower FDA with the authority to demand documentation verifying
claims on labels are backed by competent and reliable scientific
"The bill I am introducing today with Sen. Blumenthal builds on
the work we have done in the past with common-sense steps to
make sure supplement risks are printed on the label, products
are registered with FDA, and manufacturers can back up their big
claims," Durbin said Thursday in a statement.
Durbin and Blumenthal contend recent reports by USA TODAY and
"Rock Center with Brian Williams" have shown a dearth of
information on dietary supplements that are on store shelves.
Some lawmakers and other critics argue supplements are under
regulated because the products do not require pre-approval from
FDA before they land on store shelves and the Internet, with
labels touting myriad health benefits that may conceal dangerous
The Dietary Supplement Labeling Act would give FDA the authority
to require manufacturers, upon request, to submit documentation
to support structure and function claims on their labels. FDA
explains that such claims "describe the role of a nutrient or
dietary ingredient intended to affect normal structure or
function in humans, for example, 'calcium builds strong bones.'"
Supplement firms are prohibited from making claims that they can
treat diseases such as osteoporosis.
Under current federal law, manufacturers must notify FDA about
their structure/function claims within 30 days after introducing
a supplement into the market, and certify that such claims are
substantiated with competent and reliable scientific evidence.
But the agency doesn't have the authority to compel a
manufacturer to submit substantiation documents upon request,
according to a government report published in October 2012. In
the report, the Office of Inspector General within the
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended that
FDA seek explicit statutory authority to review substantiation
to determine whether structure/function claims are truthful and
Marc Ullman, a New York-based dietary supplement lawyer, said
FTC already has the authority to require firms to submit
substantiation documents in support of their structure/function
claims, but he acknowledged it is "less clear how FDA would get
Warnings on Labels
The American Herbal Products Association (APHA) explained the
legislation further directs HHS "to coordinate with the
Institute of Medicine [IOM] to compile a list of dietary
supplement ingredients that could cause potentially serious
adverse events, drug
interactions, contraindications or potential
risks to subgroups such as children and pregnant or
is a part of HHS). If a proprietary blend contains such an
ingredient, supplement firms would be required to disclose the
weight per serving of that ingredient on the label.
labels would be required if ingredients posed the risks noted by
AHPA. The legislation also would require that batch numbers are
included on each supplement label in a move designed to help FDA
identify and recall dangerous products.
warnings are unnecessary, Ullman declared, because supplement
companies already must include directions for use to ensure that
a product is safe.
there is a population that shouldn't be using it like pregnant
or nursing women, you are supposed to put that information on
your product label," he said.
the legislation also would require the HHS to define the term
"conventional food." Durbin and Blumenthal want to more clearly
distinguish conventional foods from dietary supplements since
the two categories are subject to different federal regulations.
maintain some energy drink companies have subjected themselves
to dietary supplement regulations in order to skirt more onerous
food regulations. But attorneys who practice dietary supplement
law point out some meaningful regulations—including a 2006 law (Dietary
Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act)
requiring that dietary supplement firms submit such "serious
adverse events" as death and hospitalization in connection with
their products—don't apply to conventional foods.
Prochnow, a Colorado-based dietary supplement lawyer, said the
legislation is basically asking for "FDA to apply tougher
enforcement and declare some products that are labeled as
supplements to really be food or beverage."
senior policy counsel for
indicated the legislation could result in safer supplements.
supplements may be safe and healthful, but there are numerous
ingredients found in a variety of supplements that pose
significant dangers to consumers. This bill would mean
stronger requirements for manufacturers to deliver safe products
and better labels with more information for consumers," she said
in a statement.
representing supplement companies argue the bill will impose
additional burdens on legitimate, law-abiding companies without
restraining firms that are violating current regulations.
robust enforcement, companies who look for loopholes and
disregard their legal obligations will continue to ignore new
requirements," said Steve Mister, president and CEO of the
Council for Responsible Nutrition
(CRN), in a statement. "Rather than creating new laws, our
industry needs a renewed commitment from Congress to provide FDA
with additional funding and resources so the agency can use the
ample enforcement tools already at its disposal to take aim at
companies that do not comply with the regulations currently in
place to protect consumers."
a spokesperson for FDA, did not respond to a request for comment
on the legislation.
NPA Announces Support for Federal GMO Labeling
Products Association (NPA) Board of Directors today announced
that it has endorsed the
Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act that would
require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label foods
containing genetically modified ingredients so consumers can
make educated decisions about foods they buy. By endorsing the
bill, NPA becomes the first and largest natural products
industry trade association to back the legislation, giving it
crucial support as Americans continue to call for stronger GMO
This decision is
the result of careful deliberation by the NPA Board of Directors, and reflects the associations's
guiding principles for GMO labeling, adopted on March 19,
“Supporting this legislation is the next logical step for the
Natural Products Association,” said
Director and CEO John Shaw. “In the last few months, the
association has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring
consumers know what’s in their food. We feel strongly that this
bill is in line with our guiding principles on GMO labeling, and
that it will lead the country on the path toward transparency
that Americans are demanding.”
of the bill comes just three months after the association called
for all foods containing genetically modified organisms to be
accurately labeled under a national uniform standard. The
bipartisan legislation was introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.,
and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., in April. Co-sponsors of the
bill include Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Rep. Don Young,
information about NPA and its position on GMOs, visit the
Members of Congress listen to
what you say. Each time they are contacted it represents 1,000
voices. Are you concerned with healthcare in this country?
Continue to check out our website. We will keep you up to date
on all current legislation. Together we can make your voice
heard and create change!
help hospital food, already notoriously bad, to outlaw
advice from the most qualified nutritionists. Action
“Big Farma” Still
Trying to Hide Their Dirty Secrets
Despite Farm Bill Extension, Unease Grips Rural America
extension of farm bill passed late Tuesday
- Concerns remain
that agricultural programs are still susceptible to cuts
- Lawmakers must
complete a five-year, $500 billion bill to replace a 2008
WASHINGTON — Last-minute action by
Congress to extend the expiring farm bill provides farmers and
ranchers with a lifeline for this year, but it does little to
suppress growing uncertainty in the agricultural community
bracing for significant cuts to support programs.
The bare-bones extension passed late
Tuesday by Congress as part of the package to avoid fallout from
the "fiscal cliff" keeps many of the existing farm programs in
place, including direct payments and crop insurance. It also
prevents dairy subsidies from reverting to 1949 levels — a move
that could have caused milk prices to double to about $7 a
But farmers and ranchers complained the
package was riddled with flaws, such as cutting funding for
conservation and energy and failing to provide money for
much-needed disaster relief programs that have already expired.
"This extension does kind of kick the can
down the road a bit," said Craig Hill, president of the Iowa
Farm Bureau Federation. "There is some good in this, but we
would have much rather had a five-year farm bill. It still
leaves an era of uncertainty."
A growing concern among rural America is
that, as Congress looks to cut spending, agricultural programs
could be susceptible to even steeper cuts than those included in
the farm bill proposals that failed to pass last year.
"We have come to the realization that
we're going to have to have a smaller farm bill," said Paul
Shubeck, a Beresford, S.D., corn and soybean farmer.
House GOP leaders, including House Speaker
John Boehner, R-Ohio, were reluctant to vote on a larger
five-year farm bill because of concerns they did not have the
necessary support. The Senate's bill, passed
in June, cut spending by almost $24 billion.
The House Agriculture Committee passed its own measure a month
later with cuts of more than $35 billion. The full House never
voted on either bill.
There has been
widespread disagreement about how much to cut spending on
nutrition programs. It is unclear whether it will be any easier
to pass a farm law in the new Congress that begins Thursday.
"That roadblock may still be there," said
Mike Duffy, a professor of economics at Iowa State University.
"I haven't seen anything really outside the box yet, and I'd be
surprised if there is something . . . unique enough that
everybody can get behind it."
Top lawmakers with the House and Senate
Agriculture committees have not given timelines for when they
will act on new farm legislation. Lawmakers still need to
complete a five-year, $500 billion bill to replace the 2008 farm
law. Many expect the key components of last year's farm bill
proposals — an end to direct payments, new crop insurance
programs and cuts in nutrition initiatives — to be included in
the new legislation.
Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat and
chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said this week
the extension "reforms nothing, provides no deficit reduction
and hurts many areas of our agriculture economy."
Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., a member of the
House Agriculture Committee, said the work lawmakers did on a
new farm bill last year will provide a solid foundation to move
forward. "I remain optimistic that we can get a five-year farm
bill done in the coming months," she said.
But Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said with
the same House leadership in place he remains "concerned" about
the chances of Congress finishing a five-year law.
Steve Anderson, a corn and soybean farmer
in Marshall County in central Iowa, said the extension provides
him with a better idea of what to plan for when he plants crops
and purchases crop insurance. "Something is better than nothing
at this point," he said.
Still, like other farmers, he is bracing
for deeper cuts to farm programs and uncertainty as to what
agriculture programs will look like.
"I'm probably going to be a little more
conservative going forward," Anderson said. "There are still
unknowns" about the next farm bill.
Could Get Immunity From Federal Law
could get everything it wants for Christmas, unless we convince
legislators this week to strip both the 2013 Agriculture
Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5973) and the Farm Bill of dangerous
riders that would give the biotech industry unprecedented power
and immunity from not only an already-weakened review process,
but also from federal law.
Tell Congress to dump the "Monsanto Protection Act" and other
Here’s what’s at stake. Attached to the Agricultural
Appropriations Bill is the “Farmers Assurance Provision”
(Section 733) which is nothing more than a sneak attack on
American farmers, consumers and the environment. If passed, this
rider, aptly renamed the “Monsanto Protection Act,” would
give Monsanto immunity from federal law by allowing the biotech
industry to plant genetically modified crops, even if a federal
court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental
Impact Statement is completed.
On the Farm Bill side, Monsanto lobbyists have bought
themselves several anti-regulatory riders that would effectively
gut the USDA’s ability to regulate the use of
engineered organisms (GMOs). The riders would speed up the
review and approval process for new GE crops, and authorize
the USDA to consider exempting certain GE crops from any review
Congress has returned, both bills are on the agenda. The
Agriculture Appropriations could become part of an Omnibus
Appropriations Bill and the Farm Bill could be included in a
deficit-reduction agreement to avoid the "fiscal cliff.
Thankfully, we have at least one friend in Congress.
Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is circulating a letter to
all of his colleagues in Congress opposing the “Monsanto
Protection Act.” By signing our action alert below, you can ask
your legislators to sign on to Rep. DeFazio’s “Dear Colleague”
letter. You’ll also be asking your legislators to oppose the
Farm Bill riders.
Don’t let Monsanto get away with this latest attack on farmers,
consumers and the environment! Take
Farm Bill Scenarios Unfold
On a day when political posturing in Washington sent the stock
market plunging, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told reporters he
remains optimistic that Congress will deal with the so-called
fiscal cliff before the current lame-duck session ends next
month. And he believes that differences between the House and
Senate versions of a farm bill could be worked out even if the
farm bill is thrown into any tax- and deficit-cutting
legislation or agreement.
Grassley pointed out that the Iowa delegation in the House is
still working on a petition that would force a vote on the farm
bill in the House, which, unlike the Senate, still has not
passed a version of the farm bill. The petition effort, led by
Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) needs 218 signatures to
require a vote.
Before the November election, 67 members of the House from both
parties had signed on.
If there is no vote and the farm bill gets wrapped into a bigger
package of legislation, Grassley expected differences between
the House and Senate bills to be worked out in a process similar
to a year ago, when the leaders of both the House and Senate
agriculture committees met behind closed doors to present a farm
bill draft to the "super committee" that tried, and failed, to
find a way to trim more than $1 trillion from federal spending.
The process would involve those four people, he said, (the
committee chairs and ranking minority leaders). They would reach
an agreement "and just give it to the legislators putting
together the fiscal cliff legislation," Grassley said.
National Organic Standards Board Votes to Reject More Synthetic
Additives in Infant Formula
Positive news for organic consumers from the
Organic Standards Board (NOSB)
meeting held Oct. 15-18 in Providence, Rhode Island: despite
heavy corporate pressure the NOSB has rejected the petitions to
allow synthetic versions of the nutrients taurine, lycopene,
lutein and l-carnitine in organic foods, including organic
also rejected the petitions for two synthetic preservatives for
use in organic infant formula.
This is a huge victory for the organic community and those who
believe in organic integrity, and represents a shift in the
recent direction of the NOSB and confirmation that the pressure
Cornucopia brings to bear, in providing transparency to the
process, has great utility.
The organic seal should signal that the product is free from
unnecessary synthetic ingredients -- an alternative to the
chemical cocktails of the conventional food supply that some
call “food.” By rejecting these petitions, the NOSB reaffirmed
that synthetic nutrients and synthetic preservatives have no
place in organic foods. Cornucopia provided significant written
and oral testimony to the NOSB urging rejection of these
questionable synthetic ingredients.
Monsanto, Pesticide Companies Contribute Another $5.5 Million to
Kill GMO Labeling Initiative
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 17, 2012 /NEWS.GNOM.ES/ — The
following is being released by the California Right to Know
Monsanto just gave an additional $2.89 million to defeat
Proposition 37, which would
require labeling of genetically engineered
foods in California. Monsanto’s total contribution
against Proposition 37 now stands at $7.1 million,
according to campaign
records filed with the
California Secretary of State.
Other major pesticide companies also
just made major additional
contributions to defeat
Proposition 37, including DuPont ($874,800), Dow AgroSciences
($815,200), Bayer CropScience ($381,600), BASF
($357,700) and Syngenta ($178,700).
“Monsanto wants to buy this election so they can keep hiding
what’s really in our food,” said Gary Ruskin, campaign
manager of the Yes on Proposition 37
campaign. “They are on the losing side of history.
Californians want the right to know what’s in our food, and we
will win it.”
The “Big 6″ pesticide firms (Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer, Dow, BASF
and Syngenta) have contributed $19 million of the $32 million
that the No on 37 campaign has raised.
Of the ten largest contributors to the No on 37 campaign, only
one (Nestle USA) is from a company based in California. And
even Nestle USA is a subsidiary of the giant Swiss food
conglomerate Nestle S.A.
Following is a list of the top 10 contributors to the No on 37
NAME OF CONTRIBUTOR
MO / 63167
E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO.
DC / 20004
BASF PLANT SCIENCE
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PA
NC / 27709
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PA
NC / 27709
DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC
IN / 46268
NY / 10577
NESTLE USA, INC.
CA / 91203
COCA-COLA NORTH AMERICA
GA / 30313
NE / 68102
DC / 20006
For more information
about the California Right to Know campaign, see
SOURCE California Right to Know Campaign
genetically modified crops, growing in agricultural areas, few
people realize that this dangerous herbicide is also used in
cities – in our parks and playgrounds. According to the
Department of Health’s report on city pesticide use in 2011,
Roundup is New York city’s most heavily used liquid herbicide.
The EPA is currently conducting a Registration Review of
glyphosate, and will make a final decision no earlier than 2012.
The EPA has the power to ban glyphosate – but as we all know,
Monsanto has tremendous lobbying power. We need millions of
people to tell the EPA to ban this dangerous chemical! Please
sign our petition today!
Sincerely, Ronnie Cummins Executive Director The
Organic Consumers Association
Trader Joe's: Get Antibiotics Out
of Our Food
Antibiotics are pumped into
cows, chickens and pigs so they can survive in cramped, filthy
feedlots and to make them grow faster.The more antibiotics
our livestock eat, the more drug-resistant bacteria become,
putting us at risk from deadly "superbugs."
Grocery stores can play a
critical role to help protect public health by asking their meat
suppliers end this practice. We're looking to Trader Joe's, one
of the nation's more progressive grocers, to commit to selling
only meat raised without antibiotics.
Click here to tell Trader Joe's not to sell meat with
Trader Joe's has shown concern
for public health by refusing to sell products that have
artificial colors, trans fats or GMOs. Let's get the grocer to
take the next step!
Hundreds of thousands of
consumers have already signed on demanding that Trader Joe's
sell only meat without antibiotics.
That's why I created a petition
on SignOn.org to
Trader Joe's CEO Dan Bane. Add
your name, and let's get our meat off drugs. The petition
I urge you to source and
sell only meat and poultry raised without antibiotics in all
your Trader Joe's stores. The widespread use of antibiotics in
food animals contributes to the spread of deadly,
antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" in humans. We must preserve our
antibiotics, and your leadership could begin to change the
priorities for our nation's livestock producers. Thank you!
Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it
along to your friends.
This petition was created
the progressive, nonprofit petition site. SignOn.org is
sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action, which is not responsible for
the contents of this or other petitions posted on the site.
Consumers Union didn't pay us to send this email—we never rent
or sell the MoveOn.org list.
Want to support our work? MoveOn
Civic Action is entirely funded by our 7 million members—no
corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny
staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip
the EPA to Ban Monsanto's Roundup Weedkiller!
scientists released a new study yesterday that confirms what
many of us have suspected all along: Monsanto’s top-selling
weedkiller – Roundup – kills more than weeds. The study- the
first-ever long-term study of its kind - found that rats fed a
diet containing the herbicide-tolerant GM corn, or given water
containing Roundup in amounts considered safe in drinking water
and GM crops in the US, developed huge tumors, along with kidney
and liver failure, and had a shorter life span than those in the
control group. Please
tell the EPA to ban glyphosate, the key ingredient in
Monsanto’s Roundup! Monsanto’s Roundup has long been linked to
human health problems, including birth defects. And while many
with genetically modified crops, growing in agricultural areas,
few people realize that this dangerous herbicide is also used in
cities – in our parks and playgrounds. According to the
Department of Health’s report on city pesticide use in 2011,
Roundup is New York city’s most heavily used liquid herbicide.
The EPA is currently conducting a Registration Review of glyphosate, and will make a final decision no earlier than 2012.
The EPA has the power to ban glyphosate – but as we all know,
Monsanto has tremendous lobbying power. We need millions of
people to tell the EPA to ban this dangerous chemical! Please
sign our petition today! Sincerely, Ronnie Cummins
Executive Director The Organic Consumers Association
the Farm Bill to the Floor for a Vote!
Bipartisan Request for Farm Bill Meeting with
Majority Leader Cantor
authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expire on September 30. This
includes organic priorities such as research funding and
certification cost share. Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) is
colleagues to ask them to sign on to a letter
to Majority Leader Cantor, requesting that the Farm Bill be
brought to a vote before the end of the month. Please contact
your Congressman by 10 a.m. Eastern on Friday, September 14 and
ask him or her to sign on to this letter. (Please note that
questions about the letter can be directed to Jake Oster at
Jake.Oster@mail.house.gov). Thank you.
NPA Files Supplemental Comments for NDI Draft Guidance
Shaw: Comments “Intended to Ensure the Safety of Consumers and
Provide Clarity to the Industry”
Published Tuesday, September 4, 2012
– Statement from the Natural Products Association regarding
supplemental comments submitted today by NPA Executive Director
and CEO John Shaw and Senior Vice President of Scientific and
Regulatory Affairs Dr. Cara Welch in response to the Food and
Drug Administration’s New Dietary Ingredients Draft Guidance.
Shaw: “The Natural Products Association is
pleased with the FDA’s commitment to an open dialogue with NPA
members and the industry about the NDI draft guidance. Our
supplemental comments filed today are intended to ensure the
safety of consumers and provide clarity to the industry, without
imposing unreasonable or unnecessary regulatory barriers to the
marketing of new products.
All of us at NPA look forward to a substantially re-written
draft guidance from the FDA. We need to find a solution that
works for both the FDA and the industry. I’d like to thank the
FDA for taking our concerns seriously, and to our members for
their ongoing input and
support. We look
forward to discussing these issues further with the FDA.”
Finally, the draft guidance should eliminate the need for
unnecessary duplicate filings of the same NDI. The FDA should
revise the draft to expressly permit filing of an NDI master
file, and acknowledge that an NDI notification may incorporate
by reference any information already submitted to the FDA. We
Welch: “NPA’s supplemental comments address three key
points in the current draft guidance. First, the draft guidance
should make clear that a synthetic copy of a constituent or
extract of a botanical can be a dietary ingredient. Legislation
previously passed by Congress mandates that synthetic and
natural ingredients for vitamins cannot be differentiated since
our bodies treat the synthetic version the same way as the
natural version. Simply put, there is no basis for the different
treatment of botanicals under the law.Second, the draft guidance
should provide criteria for identifying a “chemically altered”
ingredient. NPA believes that a better approach would be to
provide objective, analytically-based criteria for the industry.
changes will lead to a better draft guidance for consumers,
industry and the FDA.”
Stop the Monsanto Rider
Please sign the petition and forward this on if you feel it is
'Monsanto rider,' quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar
FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, would require - not
just allow, but require - the Secretary of Agriculture to grant
a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a
genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered
the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement
is completed. All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do
That's why I signed
a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The
United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:
"Stop the Monsanto
Rider. Unless the senate or a citizen's army of farmers and
consumers can stop them, the House of Representatives is likely
to ram this dangerous rider through any day now."
Will you sign
this petition? Click here:
America continues to face its worst economic situation since the
Great Depression, the Obama Administration acknowledges that the
organic agriculture and trade industry lends a generous hand in
improving our nation.
The Council of Economic Advisers, the White House Rural Council
and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report
June 11, 2012 commending the industry on its success. The report
stressed the immense contributions of the organic industry
within the U.S. agricultural economy and its part in expanding
opportunities for agricultural production—two major points to
highlight in the upcoming Farm Bill season, which is up for
renewal next year.
“The organic sector is fueling jobs and rural livelihoods at an
astounding rate,” said Matt McLean, Organic Trade Association
(OTA) board president and, CEO and founder of Uncle Matt’s
Organic. “Organic is also creating an important economic
opportunity for rural Americans through new business
opportunities generated from the recent organic equivalency
trade arrangements with Canada and the European Union.”
McLean also noted that the U.S. organic food industry is a
significant component of President Obama’s efforts to boost
agricultural exports. For instance, the Administration
successfully negotiated organic food equivalency agreements with
Canada and the European Union.
Moreover, the organic industry has in fact created a plethora of
opportunities for rural Americans. The report boasted that the
industry grew by 9.5% overall in 2011 to reach $31.4 billion in
sales and created more than 500,000 jobs in 2010, the latter
according to an OTA report in April. In addition, the number
certified organic operations grew 6% from 2009 to 2011.
According to crop values issued by the USDA’s National
Agriculture Statistics Service, it takes sixth place for the
value of production, right after wheat and cotton and directly
before almonds, peanuts and rice. The report called organic
farming the “fastest growing sector in organic.” Despite this
prominence, some believe the American government should focus
more on the growing agriculture sector.
“As the 2012 Farm Bill debate continues in the Senate this week,
elected officials should remain cognizant of the fact that the
organic industry has thrived—providing jobs, supporting rural
livelihoods and advancing in entrepreneurial spirit—despite very
modest investments in research, development and promotion
compared to the support provided to other agriculture sectors,”
said Christina Bushway, OTA’s CEO and executive director. “U.S.
farm policy should level the playing field and provide the
organic sector access to the same opportunities and benefits
long afforded to others so that our industry can further
contribute to moving the economy forward.”
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2012 (online 6/13/12)
NPA Sends Letter to Chicago Tribune about “Distorted” Supplement
The Natural Products
Association’s Executive Director and CEO John Shaw and Vice
President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Dr. Cara Welch
issued a response to a story about Good Manufacturing
Practices (GMP) and the dietary supplement industry that
appeared in the Sunday, July 1, edition of the Chicago Tribune.
supplements: Manufacturing troubles widespread, FDA inspections
On Monday, July 2, NPA
sent a letter to the editor about the story:
I’d like to address some
of the issues raised in your story about good manufacturing
practices (GMP) and the dietary supplement industry.
First, most Americans
are taking supplements to address nutritional deficiencies and
support their health. Adverse event reports to the Food and Drug
Administration show that dietary supplements have an excellent
safety record, especially compared to pharmaceuticals and
over-the-counter drugs. This story should not persuade anyone to
stop taking their supplements, which are important for overall
health and wellness.
The FDA is presenting a
distorted view of supplement safety. The agency tends to work on
a prioritization system that puts companies they suspect may
have issues at the top of the inspection list. This can skew the
results to paint an inappropriate picture. The agency is being
very transparent about these numbers in an effort to encourage
concerned any time a violation may be found with a supplement
manufacturer and it’s an issue we take seriously. As the
nation’s largest association representing the dietary supplement
industry, the Natural Products Association continues to lead the
industry in providing high-quality good
manufacturing practices education to inform the industry about
their responsibilities under the law.
NPA also offers a
third-party GMP certification program with standards that meet
or exceed those set by the FDA. We have certified nearly 70
companies under this program. Consumers can find out which ones
have been certified with good manufacturing practices by
Finally, it’s important
to emphasize that dietary supplements are part of a
fully-regulated industry. Good manufacturing practices apply to
all supplement manufacturers, large or small, and everyone in
the industry must comply with them.
John Spitaleri Shaw
Executive Director & CEO
Natural Products Ass ociation
About the Natural Products Association
Founded in 1936, the Natural Products
the nation’s largest and oldest non-profit
ization dedicated to the natural products
The Natural Products Association represents over
1,900 members accounting for over 10,000 retail,
manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution
of natural products, including foods, dietary
supple-ments, and health/beauty aids.
Natural Products Association
1773 T Street. NW
Washington, DC 20009
Toll-free (800) 966-6632
Fax (202) 223-0250
Natural Products Association
countries around the world, including all of Europe, people have
the opportunity of knowing whether or not they are eating food
which contains genetically engineered ingredients. In the United
States, we don't. That is why Sen. Bernie Sanders,
Sen. Barbara Boxer, introduced an amendment to the agriculture
bill which will give states the right to require labels on food
products which are genetically engineered. A vote on Bernie’s
amendment is expected later this week.
Helps to Defeat the
NPA thanks all advocates who
reached out to their senators
dietary supplements advocates:
another victory for Natural Products Association members,
advocates, and the industry, the Durbin Amendment has
been defeated, with the U.S. Senate approving Senator
Tom Harkin’s motion to table the Durbin amendment by a final
vote of 77-20.
Senate vote was a significant victory for the industry. Senator
Durbin announced his intention to seek a vote on his amendment
for the first time late Tuesday evening – and worked hard to
“whip” votes on his surprise amendment all day Wednesday and
Thursday, including making several statements on the Senate
Tuesday night, NPA began working with our Congressional
champions and fellow
stakeholders to defeat the amendment. The efforts continued all
day Wednesday as NPA coordinated with the other trade
associations to ensure that every single Senate office was
contacted and asked to oppose the amendment. NPA also
reached out to you -- its powerful grassroots network – who
responded with a flood of outreach to Capitol Hill. Finally,
today all five trade associations came together and issued a
joint statement expressing
our united opposition to the amendment.
like to thank everyone who reached out to their senators to urge
them to oppose the Durbin amendment. It is important to remember
that the regulation of dietary supplements remains a hot topic
for members of Congress. We must remain engaged, because these
issues are likely to be revisited.
No Room for Interpretation
Ignoring the law’s authors, the FDA creates a self-serving DSHEA
Despite growing public outcry over its proposed New Dietary
Ingredient guidelines, the Food and Drug Administration
continues to doggedly advance an NDI draft that could dismantle
the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)—and take
away your vitamins forever.
Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who
helped write DSHEA, requested NDI guidelines be withdrawn and
retooled in December 2011. But by January, the FDA had already
rejected their request. The agency is instead choosing to
interpret DSHEA in their own self-serving, freedom-destroying
way—even when Hatch and Harkin are telling the FDA the exact
meaning of the words the senators wrote.
There is no room for interpreting DSHEA when you’re face-to-face
with two key authors of DSHEA! An equivalent scenario might have
the FDA arguing with James Madison about what the US
Constitution means—even though James Madison is the one who
wrote the Constitution!
The FDA’s unwillingness to accept DSHEA’s true meaning straight
from its authors seems to have sinister undertones. By turning a
deaf ear to Hatch and Harkin and instead fabricating their own
meaning, the agency appears to be attacking the essence of DSHEA.
Make no mistake: Without DSHEA in its original incarnation to
protect us, our vitamins will vanish.
FDA is misinterpreting DSHEA in many ways. For one, the FDA
interprets that a manufacturer must submit an NDI notification
for every product that contains a new dietary ingredient. Hatch
and Harkin reveal DSHEA’s true intent was an NDI notification
for the ingredient only. Leave it to the FDA to propose a system
so illogical, inefficient and redundant! Why submit paperwork on
dozens of products, when submitting paperwork for one ingredient
would achieve the same exact goal?
Another key misinterpretation is the FDA’s
narrow take on
DSHEA’s definition of “dietary ingredient.” By interpreting that
nutrients such as amino acids and synthetic vitamins “do not
count” as dietary ingredients, the FDA seems to be trying to
limit which nutrients could be used in supplements. Conveniently
for the FDA, this will keep manufacturers from developing new
nutritional ingredients and products. Even though Hatch and
Harkin verify that DSHEA says synthetic vitamins are fine, the
FDA is stubbornly choosing to ignore reality and create their
own definition, which will enable them to control your health
If the FDA’s draft guidelines become real, the immediate impact
will be a massive recall of supplements that are already on
health food store shelves. Any products containing new strains
of probiotics, cutting-edge nutrients such as astaxanthin and
ubiquinol or synthetic vitamins will all be pulled.
How bad will this be? One recent estimate suggested that over
50% of all supplements on the market might be recalled—at a cost
of billions of dollars to the nutritional supplement industry.
The end of health freedom as we know it might be near—unless we
fight back right now.
A Call to Action
We must actively protect DSHEA, especially after the FDA’s rude
rejection of Hatch and Harkin. Don’t let the FDA’s New Dietary
Ingredient Draft Guidance advance another step!
Show your support to our friends who are representing health
freedom by sending faxes to Senators Tom Harkin at 202-224-9369
and Orrin Hatch at 202-224-6331. In addition, fax and call your
state’s elected officials—tell them that keeping DSHEA safe from
the FDA is a top priority!
And stay tuned for more news: The supplement industry is soon
joining forces for a major call-to-arms against the FDA’s
proposed NDI guidance. Visit
www.NHA2012.com for more information!
*This editorial is a public service announcement sponsored by
the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA).
Calling for Labeling of
Genetically Engineered Food
Dear Friend of Organic,
Use your voice as an American
citizen and organic consumer to tell the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) to label foods that contain genetically modified
organisms (GMOs). Consumers care about how their food is produced, and
have a right to know what they are eating and feeding
their families. Multiple surveys show that more than 90% of
all consumers support labeling foods that contain genetically modified
(Docket # FDA-2011-P-0723-0001/CP) has been filed with FDA calling
for labels on food that have been genetically engineered. More than
500,000 Americans have already submitted comments in support of the
petition, but we are not done yet! Let your voice be heard. Please take
a moment to submit your support for the petition.
Simply go to
http://justlabelit.org/takeaction and take action today!
Please contact your elected officials and demand the FDA withdraw the NDI Draft Guidance
Please contact your elected
officials to preserve your access to dietary supplements. This
request comes as the FDA is making its most serious attempt in
17 years to dramatically limit access to dietary supplements.
The FDA is trying to require all supplements sold after October
1994 to be registered as New Dietary Ingredients (NDIs). This
registration process would be extremely expensive and will limit
the kinds of products that can be sold.
If the NDIs are adopted in
their current form, prices for dietary supplements will
skyrocket, the range of products currently available will
significantly dwindle, and the innovation the dietary supplement
industry has been known for will be decimated.
If you care about taking dietary
supplements, then please let your elected officials know that
DO NOT approve of
the NDI Draft Guidance.
Write your elected
officials and let them know
you are opposed to the FDA's NDI Draft Guidance
1. Let FDA know you completely
oppose the NDI
Draft Guidance by submitting your comments.
Write your congressperson:
Write your senator:
Get your friends mobilized
to fight to keep
access to the dietary supplements they depend on for their
health and well-being. (e-mail it and post it on Facebook and
Take Action Now to
Contact Your Representatives about the 2012 Farm
Please help defend the small, but critical,
programs that support hard-working, committed organic businesses
going the extra mile to bring healthy, delicious, and
responsible organic food to your plate.
In order to reach deficit reduction
requirements, Members of Congress are currently facing the
daunting task of determining unprecedented spending cuts.
While the funding for organic programs
is miniscule in regards to the overall budget, everything
is under scrutiny.
We need your
help. Please email your elected federal officials and make sure
they remember the importance of organic while making these tough
Make Your Voice Heard…Tips for Contacting Your Representatives
Telephoning Your Elected Representatives
To find your senators' and representative's phone numbers, refer
to the top of our legislative page or call the U.S. Capitol
Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your senators' and/or
telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the
member of Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the
issue about which you wish to comment.
yourself, tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message,
such as: "Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) that I
also want to state reasons for your support or opposition to the
bill. Ask for your senators' or representative's position on the
bill. You may also request a written response to your telephone
Tips On E-mailing Congress
It’s Easy! You may find and e-mail your
senators and representatives directly via the internet. Log on
Tips On Writing Congress
The letter is the most popular choice of
communication with a congressional office. If you decide to
write a letter, this list of helpful suggestions will improve
the effectiveness of the letter:
Your purpose for writing should be
stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter
pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it
accordingly, e.g., House bill: H. R. ____, Senate bill:
Be courteous, to the point, and
include key information, using examples to support your
Address only one issue in each
letter; and, if possible, keep the letter to one page.
Dear Natural Product
I wanted to give you an
update on the Durbin bill (Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of
2011 (S. 1310)), and the Hatch-Paulsen legislation (The Family
and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011
(S.1098/H.R.2010)). Thanks to you, we have now sent over 5,000
messages to Capitol Hill in opposition to the Durbin bill and
almost 2,000 in support of Hatch-Paulsen.
We see no sign of
immediate activity with either piece of legislation, and neither
is expected to go through the usual Congressional process as a
free-standing bill. However, both could wind up being
attached (in whole or in part) to other bills that must pass.
We will keep a close eye
on developments and alert you if we see any movement. In the
the pressure up on the
Durbin bill is important. Should Sen. Durbin seek cosponsors or
other support, those Senate offices that have heard from you
will know that it’s not an “easy” bill to back. So if you
haven’t had a chance to write,
please click here.
more support we can show for Hatch-Paulsen, the stronger
our hand, should the opportunity arise, so
please click here to weigh in with your elected officials.
Executive Director and CEO
Natural Products Association
Standards to 54.5 MPG
Bernie Sanders, who has been a leader in the fight to raise fuel
standards, praised the deal reached by the Obama administration
and U.S. automakers that will increase the average fuel economy
of cars and light trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. “The
deal,” Bernie said, “will save car owners money at the gas pump,
cut greenhouse gas emissions and create American jobs.
Bernie introduced the Clean Coasts and Efficient Cars Act, which
called for a minimum of 55 mpg by 2030. The deal struck by the
administration accomplishes many of the goals sought by Bernie.
The new target builds on an earlier plan to have cars average 35
mpg by 2016.
historic agreement to raise fuel economy standards for new cars
and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 is a huge step
forward,” said Bernie, who added the change will allow the
United States to wean itself off of Mideast oil by 2030.
Read the official EPA announcement »
FACT SHEET: New fuel economy standards »
REPORT: Moving to 54.5 mpg will save 2.5 million barrels of oil
each day and save consumers up to $7,000 in net fuel costs over
the life of a vehicle »
legislators to OPPOSE Sen. Durbin's Dietary Supplement
Labeling Act of 2011
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) has introduced
the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011 (S. 1310), which the
Natural Products Association believes would impose needless new
regulations on supplement makers in an attempt to address the
issue of manufacturers who mislabel their food and drink
products as dietary supplements.
Among other provisions, the bill would direct the Department of
Health and Human Services (presumably the Food and Drug
Administration) to create a list of ingredients and proprietary
blends of ingredients that “could cause potentially serious
adverse events.” This overly broad language (no definition is
offered of “could cause,” for example) takes the regulation of
supplements well beyond the current, effective rules.
The bill also would direct the FDA to
impose mandatory warning labels on ingredients the
government decides are potentially harmful.
There are no protections in the bill from the inevitable
lawsuits that would follow.
recognizes the intent of the bill is to halt the sale of food
products that are masquerading as dietary supplements, and the
Natural Products Association has repeatedly called on the FDA to
use its existing authority to act against such rule breakers.
Imposing additional regulations on the legitimate dietary
supplement industry is neither an appropriate nor effective way
to achieve this goal
us in urging Congress to oppose S.1310. Send your letter to
your lawmakers today!.
Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011
your members of Congress to SUPPORT this bill
The Family and Retirement Health Investment
Act of 2011 (S.1098/H.R.2010), introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch
and Representative Erik Paulsen would allow Americans to use
their Flexible Spending Arrangement and Health Saving Account
dollars on dietary supplements and meal replacement products.
Americans should have greater access to these
products that promote their health.
The Natural Products Association endorses this bill,
and urges you to contact your members of Congress and ask them
to co-sponsor this important legislation.
this message to your legislators today!
April Fulton, National Public Radio June 14, 2011
Trying to keep the purse strings tied up tightly is the name of the
game for House GOP leaders today as the House of Representatives
debates an agriculture appropriations bill that would cut funding
for nutrition programs and food safety.
In a bit of a twist, the House
is allowing votes on amendments, so the floor debate could last
hours, if not a day or two, congressional aides predict.
And, despite concerns that some of the bill's cuts would impact key
domestic programs, the White House is not
so far threatening to veto the bill.
key debate is shaping up over the bill's proposed $650 million in
cuts to the normally bipartisan
Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. The
official word is "these cuts sould undermine efforts to prevent
hunger and support sound nutrition for some of the most vulnerable
members of our society."
Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, put it more bluntly.
"This is a pro-hunger bill," he said in his opening remarks on the
floor. "These are real cuts that will do damage to real people," he
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that up to
350,000 eligible women and children could lose access to the
program under the House
But Republicans say too much money is wasted on administering these
programs and that there are other ways for these women to get help.
Agriculture Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, a Republican from
Kentucky, says that the cuts are necessary and fiscally responsible.
"We have to reign in spending, even if it may not be the most
popular thing to do," he said during the debate. The bill
passed his committee late last month.
The bill would also fund FDA's food safety budget at $87 million
below last year's levels, just as the agency prepares to implement a
slew of new regulations to deal with things like
E. coli outbreaks.
The House spending bill would also cut about $35 million from USDA's
Food Safety Inspection Service.
It would also zero out an Obama pet project to fight obesity, the
Healthy Food Financing Initiative.
Meanwhile, the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee hasn't
yet drafted its own bill, so it may be awhile before the total
funding picture for agriculture shakes out.
Helena Bottemiller | May 25, 2011
House lawmakers sparred over proposed cuts to the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration in an appropriations markup on Tuesday. A proposal
unveiled by House Republicans Monday seeks $285 million in cuts to
the FDA in Fiscal Year 2012, an 11.5 percent reduction from FY 2011,
just as the agency is working to implement a sweeping new food
Former chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on
Agriculture, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), told Republicans on the panel that
she believes their cuts, which were approved by the subcommittee in
a voice vote Tuesday, will roll back "years of progress on food
DeLauro, who called foodborne illness a "major" threat to public
health, challenged Republicans on the spending measure, adding that
she believes the proposal is "unacceptable."
"FDA is the cornerstone of our food safety system," said DeLauro
during markup, noting that she believes the agency has had "limited
funding and an outdated mandate."
"We passed the Food Safety Modernization Act to give the FDA better
tools and this proposal would undo all of that," she said. "We
should be strengthening our food safety system, not eviscerating
DeLauro cited a recent GAO report on imported seafood safety
oversight, which called FDA'ssystem
limited and called for more testing,
the most recent example of why Congressshould support strengthening
FDA's oversight of food products.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), chair of the subcommittee, emphasized the
austere budget circumstances in which Congress is operating. It's
"been tight for all of us," he said. "We have tried our best to
focus on waste and duplication."
Consumer and regulatory advocates blasted the proposal as a threat
to public health.
"FDA is a pre-eminent public health agency that assures that our
food supply is safe and that drugs, vaccines and medical devices are
safe and effective," said Christopher Waldrop, an Alliance for a
Stronger FDA board member and director of the Consumer Federation of
America's Food Policy Institute. "Multiple times every day,
Americans use products for which FDA has oversight responsibilities.
There is no back-up if the agency isn't there."
"FDA's job is much like national defense - -essential to our
nation's well-being --- and providing protection that is too often
taken for granted until a crisis occurs," said Richard Buckley, who
also serves on the board for the Allaince, and is VP of Federal
Government Affairs, at AstraZeneca. "Now is not the time to cut the
FDA, even with economic pressures to decrease the deficit. A strong
FDA is welcomed by the industries it oversees and spurs innovation
that drives our economy."
could prevent staph-infected meat
Mon, 2011-04-18 21:41
Natural Foods Merchandiser
Byline: Pamela Bond
new study found that nearly a quarter of U.S. meat is infected with
antibiotic-resistant staph, causing a food fight over antibiotic use
in livestock production. But the solution is simple: organics.
Nearly half of meat and poultry—47 percent—sold at U.S. grocery
stores is infected with Staphylococcus aureusbacteria. And more than
half of those bacteria are resistant to three classes of
antibiotics, according to a new
To get these results, researchers collected and analyzed 136 samples
— covering 80 brands — of beef, chicken, pork and turkey from 26
retail grocery stores in five U.S. cities: Los Angeles, Chicago,
Fort Lauderdale, Flagstaff and Washington, D.C. Through DNA testing,
researchers found that the food animals were the major source of
“The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent,
and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and
demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal
production today,” said Lance B. Price, PhD, senior author of the
study and Director of TGen’s Center for Food Microbiology and
Environmental Health, in a
Antibiotic use on food animals concerns health officials because
this practice is contributing to the rising number of
antibiotic-resistant strains of disease in humans. “Scientists have
found that the abuse of antibiotics—namely the sub-therapeutic use
of antibiotics to prevent illness when there is overcrowding, not
the treatment of an infection—has resulted in antibiotic-resistant
bacteria,” said Barbara Haumann, senior writer/editor for the
Organic Trade Association. “This means that antibiotics for use
in treating human illness are becoming less effective, and, in some
cases, totally ineffective. This is a serious issue.”
The Cambridge, Mass.-based
Union of Concerned Scientistshas said that agricultural use
accounts for 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S., and
this practice “provides resistant bacteria with a direct route into
people’s kitchens.” In December 2010, the U.S. Federal Drug
estimated that 29 million pounds of antibiotics were sold for
livestock use in 2009. In June 2010, the FDA released a policy
statement recommending that agricultural uses of antibiotics should
be limited to assuring animal health. According to the OTA,
conventional meat producers feed animals antibiotics “to compensate
for overcrowding and unsanitary conditions” and to promote weight
gain and feed efficiency.
The U.S. government routinely surveys retail meat and poultry for
four types of drug-resistant bacteria, but S. aureus is not
among them, reported the study authors. The types of health problems
linked to S. aureus range from mild skin infections to
life-threatening diseases, such as pneumonia and blood poisoning,
according to the
National Institutes of Health.
What to do at the farm
Some meat advocacy organizations criticized the small sample size
and the funding source for the study. The research was supported by
Charitable Trusts as part of
The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, which
is working to phase out theoveruse of the drugs in food animal
production. Also, the Washington, D.C.-based
American Meat Institute pointed out that “these bacteria are
destroyed through normal cooking procedures,” and, thus, aren’t
necessarily a health risk.
“They’re right,” said Charles Benbrook, PhD, chief scientist for the
The Organic Center. “Adequately cooking meat definitely reduces
the risk of contamination.” However, Benbrook noted that if people
aren’t careful about cleaning cutting boards or the containers in
which they store meat, a high-risk situation can result. “Let’s face
it, people are busy and aren’t as careful as they should be,"
Benbrook said. "Sometimes juices and blood get around the kitchen.
That’s where the risk is. That bacteria can hang around the fridge
and get picked up by raw foods.” Or, let’s say you touched raw meat
while making a meal and failed to thoroughly clean your hands. If
you then prepared your baby’s bottle, the bacteria could infect the
child. If this bacteria is resistant to antibiotics, any resulting
sickness could be untreatable.
long-term fix, according to Benbrook, begins on the farm. The first
step is to end the creation of new antibiotic-resistant genes on
livestock farms. “We know how to do this: Stop using sub-therapeutic
antibiotics on farms,” Benbrook said. To ensure that meat has been
produced without antibiotics, retailers and consumers can choose
products bearing the organic label, according to the OTA. These
certified organic operations are federally regulated by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
The next step is to promote animal health and reduce stress, so the
animals’ immune systems can handle bacteria that are a normal part
of environment. “Conventional agriculture has gone overboard in
maximizing the speed of animal growth,” Benbrook said. “Sure, the
animals put on a lot of fat and grow fast, but they’re not healthy,
and they’re susceptible to bacteria. Whether conventional or
organic, farmers have to place a higher premium on healthy animal
And the last step is to prevent cross-contamination of meat at the
slaughterhouse, which can spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
What to do at the store
“Choosing foods bearing the organic label is the only way consumers
can be sure meats and dairy products they buy have been produced
without the use of antibiotics,” according to the
OTA’s position paper on the issue.
Beyond being free of antibiotics, Diana Crane, spokesperson for
PCC Natural Markets, said that “organic meats are
‘cleaner’—meaning free of harmful bacteria—than nonorganic meats.”
As evidence, she pointed to a 2010 study published by
Consumer Reports, which found that the store-brand
organic chickens the magazine tested never had salmonella.
PCC is a certified organic retailer that sells antibiotic-free,
organic beef and poultry, none of which come from CAFOs (confined
animal feeding operations)—a situation “that contributes to the need
for antibiotics and the spread of infection,” Crane said. The store
staff educate shoppers on PCC standards and practices related to raw
meat sourcing through the retailer’s website, monthly newspaper and
To take action on this issue, retailers and consumers can join PCC
and other groups in their support of the
Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 1549/S.
619). If passed, the PAMTA would require the FDA to review
approvals for animal feed uses of seven classes of antibiotics that
are viewed as important to human medicine. Approvals could be
reversed for antibiotics the FDA finds are overused, resulting in
Congress and honors champions during Natural Products Day
– The Natural Products Association (NPA) hosted industry
stakeholders and supporters from Alaska to Florida at the 14th
Natural Products Day in Washington, D.C., on April 6. Attendees,
who included a wide range of retailers, manufacturers and suppliers,
met with members of Congress and their staffs about the industry and
NPA’s legislative priorities, all of which promote greater consumer
access to and awareness of natural products.
“We are delighted that so many NPA
members and others in the industry took time out from their stores
and companies to come to Washington, D.C., to educate their elected
officials,” said NPA executive director and CEO John Gay. “Coupled
with NPA’s lobbying and grassroots efforts, Natural Products Day
helps us educate a new Congress, in which about one in five
legislators are new to the job.”
The day began with an issue
briefing and advocacy training session. Attendees then spent the
afternoon in meetings with lawmakers and key staff members from
their districts and states.
During their meetings, lawmakers
were educated on the extensive regulatory structure governing
dietary supplements, and on the health and economic benefits of the
industry. They also learned about the NPA’s growing
Natural Seal certification program, which now covers more than
600 health and beauty and homecare products and ingredients.
On the legislative front, attendees
asked Congress to support the Tax Equity for Meal Replacements and
Supplements Act, which would allow Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
dollars to be used for supplements and meal replacements that are
permitted to make health claims. In addition, lawmakers were asked
to oppose the Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Abuse Reduction Act,
which would needlessly place DHEA behind the counter, providing no
benefit to consumers.
day ended with a packed evening reception on Capitol Hill, where
attendees, legislators and staff mixed and mingled. At the
reception, NPA presented Congressional Champion Awards to the
- Representative Dan Burton of Indiana
- Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah
- Representative Michael Enzi of Wyoming
- Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa
- Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah
- Representative Jared Polis of Colorado
- Senator Jon Tester of Montana
Senators Harkin and Hatch and
Representative Burton addressed the group, expressing their support
for the industry and appreciation for this honor. NPA will continue
to work with all members across party lines to strengthen the
industry’s position in Congress. Learn how to get involved at
NPA Getting 'Good Feedback' From
Initiatives introduced by the
Natural Products Association (NPA) to engage a fresh batch of
Congress members are already reaping rewards, says the NPA’s
Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA,
John Gay explained that the association’s lobby team has been to
Capital Hill over 25 times to visit with
Congress members who participate in the committees of
jurisdiction, the ones that have most direct impact on legislation
affecting natural products.
“We’re getting good feedback from
them about the industry. They’re impressed by the type of
self-regulation we do; when we explain how dietary supplements, for
example, are regulated. A lot of them don’t fully understand that,”
They're listening! Just another
reason to contact our Senators and Representatives.
Stand up for Farmer and Citizen Rights -
Tell Obama to Ban Monsanto's GMO Alfalfa!
approved Monsanto's GMO alfalfa, a move that fundamentally
undermines the organic dairy and beef industries. As a main feed
crop for organic livestock, the planting of Monsanto's GMO alfalfa
will result in genetic contamination of organic and non-GMO alfalfa,
thus making it hard for organic farmers to meet USDA organic
standards that require organic feed for certification and also the
loss of important overseas markets for conventional farmers that
grow non-GMO alfalfa for foreign consumers who refuse to accept GMOs
as safe for human consumption.
We all need to stay
vigilant to these threats, and the NPA will continue to let you know
when your action is needed to fight a harmful piece of legislation.
and Secretary Vilsack need to hear from the millions of Americans
who are disappointed by this unwise decision. Tell them that you are
deeply disillusioned by this decision and let all of your friends
who care about organics to join in. It's outrageous to risk the
contamination of the organic dairy industry simply for Monsanto's
Let them know that you care about
organic integrity by following this link from Food Democracy Now!
Then please pass this on.
Every voice counts!
112th Congress and What You Can Do To Support Natural Products
Last year, you helped defeat the
McCain bill and FTC powers legislation by writing to your
member of Congress. After last
nights State of the Union address,
the work of the 112th Congress will begin in earnest, so
it is time to take stock of the legislative landscape.
this industry remains under threat, and our opponents will continue
to seek ways to over-regulate us. For example, the ideas contained
in the McCain bill, such as a premarket approval requirement for
dietary supplements, remain in play;
and there are those, particularly in the Senate, who would revive
the FTC powers proposal. Legislation involving categories of
supplements like sports supplements and DHEA is another real
also the activities of Congressional
committees. It was the Senate Aging Committee that asked the
GAO to perform their investigation of the supplement industry. The
report served as the centerpiece of a 2010 hearing, and follow-up
hearings are always possible in 2011. We also expect the regulatory
agencies to be more active in the coming year.
We all need
to stay vigilant to these threats, and the NPA will continue to let
you know when your action is needed to fight a harmful piece of
Can Do Now
meantime, we must educate both new and returning
members of Congress so that they
better understand dietary supplements when they make decisions that
impact us. The NPA is reaching out to members of Congress and their
staffs, but the more your representatives and senators hear about
the value of supplements from their constituents, the better.
We can help.
If you would like to send an email to your elected officials, just
NPA's Action Alert page.
You will find a letter you can send to your members of Congress to
open the door of communication with them. If you wish, you may add a
line or two about your involvement with natural products.
Thank you for
your advocacy with Congress.
Helena Bottemiller | Jan 05, 2011
Using 15 pens, President Obama signed the
long-awaited FDA Food Safety Modernization Act into law Tuesday evening.
The legislation, widely hailed as the most sweeping update to U.S. food
safety law since the Great Depression, survived a
constitutional slip-up, repeated
filibuster threats, fierce debate over
controversial amendments, and managed to advance amidst a jam-packed
legislative agenda in one of the most productive Congresses in recent
history. In the last 18 months, food safety legislation cleared the
Senate twice and the House three times.
The legislative saga ended quietly Tuesday after the president returned
from a family vacation in Hawaii. He signed the bill into law--along
with a stack of others, including bills aimed at improving shark
conservation, pedestrian safety, and science education--with no formal
signing ceremony or statement.
Industry, public health, and consumer groups praised the signing.
Pam Bailey, president & CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association,
thanked the president for signing the bill to strengthen the U.S. food
"Today's bill signing marks a historic moment for our
country--as it represents the most comprehensive reform of our nation's
food safety laws in more than 70 years," said Bailey in a statement.
"This landmark legislation provides FDA with the resources and
authorities the agency needs to help strengthen our nation's food safety
system by making prevention the focus of our food safety strategies, and
will help restore the public's faith in the safety and security of the
"The food industry applauds Congress for the passage of historic food
safety legislation and is grateful to the President for his signature
today," added GMA chairman of the board, chief executive officer of Del
Monte Foods Richard Wolford. "I am proud of the food industry for
its support of landmark food safety legislation and our efforts to
protect consumers and provide them a safe food supply."
As Food Safety News
recently reported, supporters of the new law are gearing up to fight
for the funding to implement the provisions in a contentious budgetary
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a longtime advocate of food safety reform and
outgoing chair of the subcommittee that oversees FDA's budget, pushed
back against reports of GOP plans to block significant funding
"It is disturbing that there will be an effort by Republicans to cut FDA
funding and thus prevent this landmark new law from being implemented
adequately," said DeLauro in a statement Monday. "In the same week that
Republicans announced their intention to cut FDA funding for the new
food safety law, it was announced that a salmonella outbreak involving
alfalfa sprouts had sickened nearly 100 people in at least 15 states.
Without appropriate funding levels, the FDA Food Safety Modernization
Act would not be as effective in protecting our food supply and saving
Longtime proponent of the legislation, John Dingell
(D-MI), echoed the call to fund the bill.
"This law is long overdue," said Dingell, citing the
new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate on annual
foodborne illnesses and deaths in the U.S. "Now we must take the
next step to ensure that the new authorities are fully funded to ensure
the FDA can do its work to protect the American people."
The new law will give FDA expanded authority over approximately 80
percent of the food supply--not including USDA-regulated meat and
poultry products--by giving the agency mandatory recall power and
expanded access to food safety records. FDA will be required to
increase the frequency of food facility inspections (currently a
facility might be inspected once a decade). Growers and food
manufacturers will also be required to implement food safety plans and
foreign facilities importing food to the U.S. will have to meet the same
Food Safety Bill Passes the
This morning the Senate passed S.
510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, by a vote of 73-25. It is still
expected that the House will approve the bill as passed by the Senate,
and send it on to the President for his signature. Enactment will
complete a long legislative journey spanning several Congresses, and is
a significant win for the NPA and the industry; as provisions negatively
products retailers and suppliers were modified or kept out
of the bill, and measures supported by the industry were included.
As noted in earlier updates, the
bill includes the language negotiated between industry champion
Sen. Orrin Hatch
(R-UT) and Sen. John
McCain (R-AZ), which prompted McCain to withdraw his
support for S. 3002. There also are provisions protecting supplement
makers from duplicative safety regulations, and language clarifying that
nothing in the bill promotes adoption of CODEX by the United States.
These provisions were supported by NPA. The bill also includes a recent
amendment offered by
Sen. Jon Tester
(D-MT) to protect small farmers, as well as several other provisions.
Not included in the revised package is the penalties amendment proposed
Sen. Patrick Leahy
(D-VT) that the Natural Products Association opposed.
The final version of this bill is a
demonstration of the impact of the strong grassroots voice of NPA
members and others in the industry, and the hard work by the NPA staff
and lobbying team.
The NPA will remain vigilant for the
rest of the lame
duck session of Congress to ensure the interests of the
industry are protected.
Food Safety Bill
and the Leahy Amendment
A status report
from the Natural Products Association
wanted to update you on legislative action in the Senate today of
importance to the natural products industry
on which the NPA has been working. This afternoon, the Senate voted
74-25 to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the Senate version
of the Food Safety bill (S.510). While the NPA has opposed the House
version of the Food Safety bill, the Senate legislation is a more
balanced approach that recognizes the special nature of supplements.
Now that cloture has been invoked, the Senate must vote on the motion
itself. Assuming it passes, the Senate would move on to the bill, a move
that also can be filibustered, meaning that 60 senators must support the
measure for it to pass.
number of controversial amendments to the bill have been proposed,
including one by Sen. Patrick Leahy
(D-VT) that would have had potentially damaging effects on the natural
products industry. We understand, however, that
Senate Majority Leader Reid is unlikely to open the bill up to
numerous amendments, and may allow none. If no amendments are allowed,
it would give the Senate a simple up or down vote on the bill -- a vote
likely to occur by the end of this week. Given the 74-25 vote today on
cloture, we would expect such a bill to pass. While the
House of Representatives approved its
own version of a Food Safety bill, it is generally expected that the
House would have to accept a bill passed by the Senate without making
additional changes, or no bill will be enacted this year.
NPA staff and lobbyists have been working with our Congressional
champions on the Food Safety bill and the Leahy Amendment for quite some
time, and will continue to work to ensure that the legislation does not
inhibit the ability of Americans to benefit from natural products. We
will keep you posted on developments.
Election Brings Changes to Congress that Will Impact the Natural
Products Industry - NPA Warns Industry to be Alert during the Lame Duck
While some races may not be decided for weeks, the natural products
industry can begin to take stock of the election results. “This was the
most remarkable election in my 25 years in Washington,” said Natural
Products Association (NPA) Executive Director and CEO John Gay, “and the
effects will be felt almost immediately.”
Although the new members of Congress won’t take their seats until
January, the current Congress gets one more crack at legislating during
the “lame duck” session that begins next week. “We’ve been preparing for
the possibility that Senators and Representatives soon to be out of
power may try to slip their pet proposals into must-pass pieces of
legislation, like the spending bill,” said Gay. “We’ll have to keep a
watch on them.”
One potential threat is legislation to grant additional enforcement
powers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). “NPA members helped
stop this proposal when Congress was debating the Wall Street reform
bill this summer, but it could be brought back to life,” said Gay.
Looking ahead to the 112th Congress, Gay sees some
significant changes for the industry. “The natural products sector has
champions and threats coming from both sides of the aisle, so the fact
that one party or the other is in control does not make or break us—the
champions and a number of threats remain,” he said. “But the shift in
leadership in the House may help as Representative Henry Waxman must now
give up the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee, although
he remains in Congress.”
In the Senate, industry champions such as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) remain well-positioned to continue their
work. One wild card is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who won re-election and
will not have to face the voters again for six years. “Will he introduce
another version of his Dietary Supplement Safety Act, or will he
continue to work with Senator Hatch? That is a key question,” said Gay.
With additional authority unlikely to be granted by the new Congress,
NPA expects federal regulators to test the limits of their existing
powers. “We support their actions aimed at getting the bad actors out of
the market,” said Gay, “but it is a problem if they target the
legitimate industry, especially if they go beyond the current law to do
Every election brings new members of Congress to Washington—members who
probably do not understand the natural products industry. “NPA will be
reaching out to the newly-elected members of Congress and their staffs
to begin educating them, but we need the industry’s help,” said Gay.
“The more these new Representatives and Senators hear from their
constituents about the value of the industry, the better.”
NPA urges retailers and suppliers to come to Washington, D.C., for the
2011 Natural Products Day, which likely will take place in March,
pending announcement of the Congressional schedule. “Nothing makes
a greater impact than a face-to-face meeting with a constituent,” said
Gay offered one caveat on the election. “Whether you are happy or sad
with the results, you should keep in mind that everything could change
two years from now with this volatile electorate,” he said. “NPA will
continue to work with Republican and Democratic allies to strengthen the
industry’s position in Congress.”
House, Senate Conference Rejects Expanded FTC Powers
Victory for NPA,
Industry, Thanks to Strong Grassroots, Lobbying Effort
In another victory for Natural Products Association members and the
industry, early this morning, conferees on the
Wall Street Reform bill (S. 3217)
decided not to include in the final legislation sweeping new powers
for the Federal Trade Commission.
Such additional authority very likely would have led to advertising
rules on the industry that would have undercut the protections of
the Dietary Supplement Health
Education Act (DSHEA).Health
Education Act (DSHEA).
This has been one of the top legislative priorities for the Natural
Products Association for the last six months. We are proud of all
the calls and letters written to your senators and representative.
Good grassroots and good lobbying are a powerful combination.
GUIDELINES DRAFT MISSES MARK
expresses “serious concern” on the direction of the report’s
On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and
Kathleen Sebelius released the
Report of the
Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary
Guidelines for Americans, 2010,
a draft report assessing revisions and recommendations to
the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. When finalized, the report will
form the basis for the 2010
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which will be
released at the end of the year.
Products Association expressed serious concern about the
direction of the report, most notably statements such as “a
daily multivitamin/mineral supplement does not offer health
benefits to healthy Americans."
“When less than 25 percent
of the U.S.
population eats the
recommended serving of
and vegetables daily, how are Americans to get the
vitamins and minerals they need?” says NPA Executive
Director and CEO John Gay. “Advice to cut off a reliable and
safe nutrition source, such as a daily multivitamin, doesn't
seem logical or responsible.”
Public comments are now being accepted on the report.
Individuals and organizations are encouraged to submit
written comments through
July 15, 2010. Oral testimony may be provided at a
public meeting to be held in Washington, DC,
on July 8.
“The Natural Products Association will be weighing in
vigorously,” said Gay.
Read how to submit comments here:
Comments on the Committee's Report
Senate in Final Talks on Expanded
Services Reform (S.3217)
is heading to discussion as Financial Services conferees begin
their meetings today. The Senate conferees are set; the House
conferees were just recently named. As we mentioned earlier, the
bill has passed the Senate, and while expansion of
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
powers was kept out of the Senate bill, now the House and Senate
are getting ready to work out the differences between the
chambers' versions. The expansions being discussed could have a
dire impact on the natural products industry.
Many of you responded to the last call
to contact your senators, and deserve some of the credit for the
decision of the Senate not to include the FTC powers provision
in the bill they passed. But if you have not contacted your
representatives and senators, please do it today, particularly
if they are a conferee. It's especially important to contact
conferee, but contact your representatives and senators
regardless. (Representative Judy Biggert of the 13th
district is a conferee).
action and send a message to your members of Congress,
asking them to OPPOSE the FTC provision, and urging them to
focus on strengthening the stability of our
economy, not regulating industries
that had nothing to do with the financial crisis. At a time when
businesses are struggling to both survive and create new jobs,
adding burdensome new regulations and ceding more authority over
your business to the FTC is just what the economy does not need.
Should these additional powers be
granted to the FTC, you can expect to see the following:
The FTC creating advertising
guidelines that are inconsistent with what is allowed under
DSHEA and the FDA
The FTC acting as a legislative
body, creating “rules” for industries like ours in areas in
which it has no expertise
The FTC levying fines against
businesses for practices it deems illegal without allowing
the business to change its policies
The FTC levying fines against
companies for “aiding and abetting” wrongdoing even when the
companies did not know a violation was occurring
The FTC making, approving, and
policing rules with virtually no oversight
In these critical times,
it’s important to make our voice heard. Please do your
Today, the Natural
Products Association (NPA) offered its support of the
Dietary Supplement Full
legislation that would provide the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) with additional resources to enforce the strong, existing
laws governing supplements, while also holding
accountable for their activities with the added resources. The
bill was introduced today by Senators
Tom Harkin (D-IA) and
have called for additional regulations on supplements, Senators
Harkin and Hatch understand that the real need is to fully
enforce the stringent statutes already on the books, to the full
extent of the law,” said NPA Executive Director and CEO John
Gay. “The way to get the bad actors out of the industry is by
putting more cops on the street, plain and simple.”
recently, the FDA experienced year after year of
limiting the resources it needed to effectively regulate the
industries under its
Dietary Supplement Full
Implementation and Enforcement Act
additional funds to the FDA specifically for enforcement of the
Supplement Health and
Education Act (DSHEA),
the 1994 bill that established the regulatory framework for
supplements. The bill also requires FDA to file annual reports
to Congress about how the Administration is regulating
measure would tighten product-specific enforcement, require the
release of the long- awaited New Dietary Ingredient (NDI)
guidance, and double funding given to the Office of Dietary
Supplements (ODS) to expand research and consumer information
about dietary supplements.
a similar full implementation bill introduced by Sens. Harkin
and Hatch in the
For the Good of It will continue to keep you informed on the
progression of the bill..
FTC Powers Bill Moves to Next Step:
A New Call to Action from the
Natural Products Association
Financial Services Reform
(S.3217) passed the Senate. While expansion of
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
powers was kept out of the Senate bill, now the House and Senate
must work out the differences between the chambers' versions.
The expansions being discussed could have a dire impact on the
way you do business.
Many of you responded to
the last call to contact your senators, and I think you deserve
some of the credit for the decision of the Senate not to include
the FTC powers provision in the bill they passed. Now, we
need you to act again by
both your representatives and senators today,
urging them to focus on strengthening the stability of our
economy, not regulating industries that had nothing to do with
the financial crisis. At a time when businesses are struggling
to both survive and create new jobs, adding burdensome new
regulations and ceding more authority over your business to the
FTC is just what the economy does not need.
Now is the time that
your voice matters most. Should these additional powers be
granted to the FTC, you can expect to see the following:
- The FTC creating
advertising guidelines that are inconsistent with what is
allowed under DSHEA and the FDA
- The FTC acting as a
legislative body, creating “rules” for industries like ours
in areas in which it has no expertise
- The FTC levying
fines against businesses for practices it deems illegal
without allowing the business to change its policies
- The FTC levying
fines against companies for “aiding and abetting” wrongdoing
even when the companies did not know a violation was
- The FTC making,
approving, and policing rules with virtually no oversight
I encourage you to
and send a new message to your members of Congress,
urging them to OPPOSE the FTC provision.
Where Does S. 3002 Stand Today?
After a whirlwind of activity late last week,
I wanted to give you an update on where things stand with S.
3002, the Dietary Supplement
Safety Act proposed by Senators John
McCain and Byron Dorgan.
has told our Congressional champion
Sen. Orrin Hatch that he intends to back away from S.
3002, and work with Hatch on amendments to the
Food Safety Bill (S. 510) and
the DSHEA full implementation legislation. McCain will not
push any of the provisions of S. 3002 that we objected to,
but will support S. 510's language on recall and registration.
He also will seek language pushing for new
dietary ingredient (NDI)
guidance from the Food and Drug
Administration, and to encourage more cooperation between
the FDA and the
Drug Enforcement Administration.
We will need to keep an eye on these talks as they progress.
Sen. Dorgan also is reportedly
backing off S. 3002..
shift is good news (and evidence of the effectiveness of
grassroots), we should not let up our campaign, because the bill
could easily be picked up by another
member of Congress.
Keep in mind that things change.
Thursday night we were told that
McCain was soon introducing a reworked bill. By
Friday morning, McCain had
committed to working with Hatch. While this change is
encouraging, the possibility remains that discussions could
I want to thank you for your advocacy
efforts so far, through your letters, e-mails and phone calls to
your members of Congress.
We will continue to provide you with
updates about any changes to the bill's status
Save Our Supplements! Tell Your Senator to OPPOSE S. 3042, the
Dietary Supplement Safety Act
On February 4,
John McCain and
introduced S. 3002, the "Dietary Supplement
Safety Act." This legislation would mandate that every dietary
supplement would have to go through a brand new process of
government review in order to stay on the market.
If this bill
becomes law your
health care choices
will be drastically reduced, and many of the supplements
available today will become illegal. This and other provisions
of this misguided legislation affect ALL
supplements, including vitamins, minerals, herbs,
sports, and diet products.
purpose of the bill is to make
supplements "safer," which is ironic because dietary supplements
already have an excellent safety record. It also ignores the
fact that the US
Food and Drug Administration,
Federal Trade Commission,
and the US
Drug Enforcement Administration
already have the powers they need to police the market.
If this concerns
you, please go to
to send a note in opposition to S. 3002 directly to your two
Senators or use the information on the website to write a
personal letter. Either way, you need to act immediately.
Do Not Let
Congress Take Away Your Right To Dietary Supplements!
Legislation Poses Threat to DSHEA
February 3, 2010
At a press
conference held earlier today, Sen.
John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced that he would be
introducing legislation that would amend the
Supplement Health and
Education Act (DSHEA) to give the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) additional powers
over retailers and suppliers in the
dietary supplements industry. The Natural Products
Association is reviewing McCain's bill, which is cosponsored by
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), and
offers this initial analysis regarding the impact of the
legislation on the industry.
Don’t let them
take away your BHRT!
pharmaceutical giants are aggressively lobbing FDA and Congress
to restrict your access to BHRT and other compounded medicines.
If they are successful, big drug companies-instead of you and
your prescriber-will decide what medicines you can take.
there's a campaign underway to preserve your personal choice.
Patients and Professionals for Customized Care is bringing
together patients, physicians and healthcare advocates who know
how critical compounded bioidentical hormone replacement
therapies are to women suffering from menopausal symptoms.
Together, we can protect your access to BHRT.
P2C2 at www.savemybhrt.org
Let Them Take Away Your Compound Medicines!
companies are lobbying federal regulators to restrict – and
possibly deny – your access to compounded medicines. If
they are successful, big drug companies – instead of you and
your prescriber – will decide what medicines you can take.
This restriction will allow the FDA to severely restrict what a
compounding pharmacy can compound, what a physician can
prescribe, AND, what compounded medication will be available to
YOU! Here’s the latest specifics…
Oppose FDA's Action on behalf of Wyeth to Restrict BHRT
Alert Date: January 2008
FDA recently took action on behalf of pharmaceutical
manufacturer Wyeth – the giant drug maker of Premarin and
Prempro, two hormone treatments for women that have been linked
to cancer, heart disease and stroke by
the Women’s Health Initiative, NIH study - to impose harmful
restrictions on the compounding and dispensing of bio-identical
hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), specifically compounded
medicines containing the drug estriol. This action has
critical implications for pharmacists, patients and physicians.
Fortunately, there’s a new campaign underway to stop them.
By banning together, we can protect our
access to compounded medicines! It’s easy - go to
today to voice your concerns. If you do not have access to
the internet, you can make your voice heard by contacting your
representatives via phone or mail. Contact information
can be found below.
access to DHEA is in Jeopardy!
Your access to DHEA is in jeopardy!
The Senate is considering a bill, S. 762, to classify
DHEA as an anabolic steroid, adding it to the list of controlled
substances and removing it from the market. H.R. 1249 is the
companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. Your
immediate help is needed to keep this safe and effective dietary
supplement legal and accessible.
DHEA is not an anabolic steroid. It is a
naturally occurring hormone that has a wide range of benefits,
including maintaining muscle strength and strong bones, boosting
immunity, and improving mood and sleep
patterns. Further studies suggest that DHEA may be helpful for
such conditions as obesity, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. DHEA
supplements, which have been on the market
for over 20 years, are derived from a plant in the wild yam
(Click here for more information.)
We need your help to keep DHEA legal. Enter
your ZIP code in the box above to send a message to Congress
asking your Senators and Representative to oppose S. 762 and
H.R. 1249 and any amendment to restrict access to DHEA to
minors. Congress should not restrict access to a dietary
supplement that has given health to millions of Americans.
Take action now!
Save Our Supplements
you for your Support in Ensuring Congress Passed
Important Dietary Supplement Legislation.
Thanks to your overwhelming
responses, Congress last week passed S. 3546, the Dietary Supplement
and Non-Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Act (the “AER bill”).
Help ensure this landmark legislation becomes law by urging
President Bush to sign it. Please lend your voice to a
chorus of many others that support this bill, including the Natural
Products Association and the other leading dietary supplement trade
Contrary to what you may have
heard, this legislation will not affect the availability of dietary
supplements. Nor does it grant the Food and Drug Administration new
powers to regulate dietary supplements. The government already
tracks all adverse experiences that could be
new is that manufacturers
who get reports of consumers being seriously harmed by their
products can’t keep them secret. While we believe such
occurrences are extremely rare, if they do happen, reporting
is the right thing to do.
How You Can Help:
Thank you for supporting
the long-term health of our fellow citizens and the natural
The Natural Products
Could Save Health Care
System $5.5 Billion
care costs are one of the country’s most pressing issues.
National annual health expenditures more than doubled from 1993
to 2004 — when they reached a total of $1,793.5 billion. And by
the year 2012, they’re expected to nearly double again. A new
report released by the Lewin Group, a national health care and
human services consulting firm, indicates that two dietary
supplements, omega-3 fatty adds and lutein/zeaxanthin, could
save the U.S. healthcare system $5.5 billion over five years,
while improving the quality of life of thousands of seniors.
Evidence-Based Study of the Role of Dietary Supplements in
Helping Seniors Maintain their Independence,” the report was
commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA)
and published in January of this year. The authors critically
reviewed the research literature on omega-3 fatty acids’ ability
to prevent coronary heart disease (CHD) and lutein/zeaxanthin’s
ability to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The impact of CHD
diseases such as CHD and AMD can considerably hamper seniors’
independence. CHD, characterized by blockage of the coronary
arteries, can cause angina
attack, require angioplasty and bypass surgery, and seriously disable
gradually destroys sharp, central vision, affects a person’s ability to
read, drive, and write. It is the leading cause of blindness in
Americans over age 65.
In addition to
compromising quality of life, both diseases have a hard-hitting
financial impact: The less independent a senior becomes, the
The cost is
shouldered by the older person, the family, and the health care
help is needed — whether that
senior becomes, the more paid help is needed — whether
that takes the form of an in-house aide or a nursing facility.
Based on their
research review, the study authors estimated that daily intake
of approximately 1,800 mg of omega-3 fatty acids by seniors
could prevent nearly 400,000 hospitalizations and physician
visits due to CHD over a five-year period (2006-2010). That
translates to a savings of $3 billion.
AMD-related vision loss could also significantly curtail the
number of older adults transitioning to dependency. The report
estimates that daily intake of 6-10 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin
would help nearly 100,000 seniors avoid the transition to
greater dependency through not needing care in the community,
and help an additional 30,000 avoid admission to a nursing
fatality due to loss of vision over the same five-year period —
a cost savings of $2.5 billion.
In a separate
study researching preventive supplementation for those at high
risk for AMD, the federal government’s National Eye Institute
found that taking high levels of antioxidants and zinc can
reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular
degeneration (AMD) by about 25 percent.
These and other
scientific reports show promise that improving the health
prospects of our senior citizens can be aided by antioxidants
and other specific nutrients.
We’re contacting you because
legislation is being considered in Congress that would allow you
the benefit of tax breaks for purchasing some dietary
supplements. You already get these tax benefits for OTC drugs,
why not for dietary supplements that have proven health
benefits? This bill is expected to be acted upon soon, however
more co-sponsors are needed to ensure success and that’s where
you can have an important role in the campaign.
Two types of health plans, Health
Savings Accounts (HSAs) and health Flex Spending Accounts (FSAs), allow
participants certain tax breaks for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that
are used for the “prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental
defect or illness.” But dietary supplements, even those with proven
health benefits, are not included.
A key provision of H. R. 1545 is that
only those dietary supplements and foods that have been granted the
right by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use a specific
health claim, based on scientific research, would have tax breaks under
this proposal. Here are some examples of the supplements and health
conditions they affect that would be included:
• Birth defects:
• Cancer: Antioxidant
• Coronary heart disease:
Soy protein, sterol/
stanol esters and
omega-3 fatty acids
• Osteoporosis: Calcium
• Vascular disease: B
Such dietary supplements and foods help prevent diseases in ways
comparable to OTC drugs and the tax code should permit expenditures for
them under FSA and HSA rules, resulting in tax breaks for you.
How You Can Help:
Supplements invites you to become a voice for supplement choice. Please
click the link below to visit
and join the list,
On the site
you can ask your U.S. Representative to
support the Dietary
Supplement and Healthy Meal
Parity ACT, so that you
can have the same tax breaks for foods and dietary supplements with
approved health claims as for other products that maintain health and
Please be sure to add your
personal comments to the draft to make your message
unique, make sure to include specifics if you or your family members
are using any of the items listed above. If your Representative has
already committed to support this bill, you’ll see a draft “thank you”
letter and a request to help recruit additional support.
Sign Up to Save our Supplements!
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