In response to last week's introduction of S. 1425, the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2013, by Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement industry, issued the following statement.
Statement by Steve Mister, president and CEO of CRN:
“CRN appreciates Sen. Durbin’s continued interest in providing consumers with additional assurance of the safety and benefits of their dietary supplements. However, we oppose the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2013 because it creates added burdens for both FDA and companies already following the law, but does not address the problem of those companies that are disregarding the law. Without robust enforcement, companies who look for loopholes and disregard their legal obligations will continue to ignore new requirements. 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.
“We cannot support legislation that directs FDA to require warning labels for products or ingredients that ‘could cause’ adverse events or potential risks as this is a case of the precautionary principle run amok. While the premise may be well intentioned, in practice this requirement would lead to confusing and unnecessary label instructions likely to deter consumers from using beneficial dietary supplements based on uncommon or miniscule risks. Further, a new law is unnecessary because the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) already provides FDA with the authority to mandate warning labels if the agency determines there is an unreasonable risk of injury or illness under the conditions of use provided in the labeling. Other provisions of the legislation likewise create burdensome new mandates for manufacturers who are already complying with DSHEA without addressing the industry’s outliers.
“We share Sen. Durbin’s concern that consumers should be able to expect dietary supplements are safe and beneficial, but adding new layers of bureaucratic mandates is a shotgun approach when we need FDA to take a rifle-like aim at companies that are putting consumers at risk.”