Nutrition Business Journal

Will the FTC Gain Power over Supplements in New Financial Overhaul Legislation?


Discussions are currently underway on Capitol Hill to set parameters for a final version of the financial services reform bill that could have potential serious ramifications for the U.S. nutrition industry. The Senate version of the bill (S. S.3217), sponsored by Senator Dodd (D-CT), passed in May as the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) sponsors the House version (H.R. 4173), and Frank just set conferees yesterday to iron out differences between the two bills’ various provisions and language. Senate language forms the basis for ongoing discussion in the House.

The Natural Products Association (NPA) put out a call to action last week to encourage industry members to voice their disapproval of potential language in the House version that would expand the Federal Trade Commision’s (FTC) powers to regulate natural products and dietary supplements. NPA opposes the FTC provision as misguided in its attempt to regulate an industry unrelated to the financial crisis at a time when economic growth and job creation should be more pressing. NPA particularly fears FTC forays into advertising guidelines that might conflict with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and potential fines for smaller companies unable to effectively manage new regulations.

NBJ Bottom Line 

The supplement industry is learning how to lobby more effectively. Efforts by NPA and others resulted in a Senate bill that left out the FTC provision, and time will tell if that influence can carry over to the House and a final bill. There is still a long way to go, however, on this lobbying front and companies would be wise to support groups such as the NPA—as dietary supplement champion Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) recently reiterated during an interview with Nutrition Business Journal’s sister publication, Natural Foods Merchandiser.

“Many of your companies are represented by trade organizations such as the Natural Products Association because these groups work for you every day,” Hatch said. “Of course, the Coalition to Preserve DSHEA also lobbies for your issues. It is vitally important for you to continue to support these organizations. In Washington, if you don’t have a seat at the table, there is a good chance you will become the main course.”

For more coverage of the regulatory issues at play in today’s market for natural products and supplements, check out NBJ’s upcoming U.S. Nutrition Industry Overview issue. This 48-page edition, which publishes next month, will provide a detailed and analytical overview of the companies and strategies shaping the industry. Subscribe now through our website.

Related NBJ links:

A Cascade of Global Regulatory Changes Likely for Supplements Over Next 12 Months

FTC Regulations Change the Marketing Landscape for Nutrition Direct Sellers

2009 Supplement Business Report

Related links from Natural Foods Merchadiser:

Sen. Hatch answers questions on new supplements legislation

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