The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act’s (DSHEA) chief sponsor and long-time dietary supplement industry champion Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, joined the supplement industry in celebrating the 20thanniversary of the landmark legislation at a luncheon held in his honor in Salt Lake City on Oct. 23.
The luncheon, hosted by the Salt Lake City-based United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), drew more than 100 attendees, who heard Utah's senior senator reiterate the importance of the law to American consumers and to the now $35 billion industry.
DSHEA was signed in to law by President Bill Clinton on Oct. 25, 1994, after passing both houses of Congress by unanimous consent.
In his remarks, Sen. Hatch noted that DSHEA “was a remarkable achievement,” that it has faced relatively few problems and that there has not been a major amendment to its structure in the last 20 years.
Setting the stage for the three years of work that went into the passage of DSHEA, Hatch stated, “In the early nineties, a national dialogue on improving health care was underway. Numerous studies indicated at least 100 million Americans regularly used vitamins and minerals to improve diet and health.”
At the same time and for the previous several decades, Hatch said, “FDA had been rather heavy-handed with this industry, trying repeatedly to create new restrictions on both the labeling and content of dietary supplements. … This was not a partisan issue. It was about fairness and about allowing the American public access to these products and information about their benefits.”
Hatch reiterated his support for responsible industry by telling the group that he was “personally invested in ensuring that the companies represented here today are able to reach consumers, grow their business, and improve the health of millions of Americans by developing their products and expanding their capacity to fill the demand for dietary supplements"
Before introducing the senator to the luncheon attendees, UNPA President Loren Israelsen provided a short visual history of DSHEA, including a video clip of the senator’s fiery, early-19990s Senate floor speech in support of the bill. UNPA houses the largest archive of DSHEA-related documents in the natural products industry.
After the senator’s comments, Israelsen presented Sen. Hatch with a framed commemorative DSHEA 20th-anniversary necktie.