AHPA Backs Bills to Revise Food Stamp and IRS Laws

(March 21, 2007, Silver Spring, MD) -- At its most recent meeting on March 7-8, 2007, the Board of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) voted to express support for two bills introduced in the 110th Congress that would revise current laws to be more inclusive of some classes of dietary supplements.

The Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act (S. 770) would amend the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to permit people who qualify for food stamps to use them to purchase not only conventional foods but also "nutritional supplement[s] providing a vitamin or mineral, or both." S. 770 was introduced in the Senate on March 6 by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) for himself and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). It has been referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, which is chaired by Senator Harkin.

"This legislation would address a need that Senator Harkin identified several years ago," noted Michael McGuffin, AHPA's president. "I have heard him on several occasions decry the fact that food stamps can be used to buy candy and sodas, but not basic nutritional supplements. AHPA supports this bill, which would correct that imbalance."

A copy of the bill is posted on AHPA's website at: http://www.ahpa.org/portals/0/pdfs/S770_FoodStamps.pdf.

The other legislation identified by the AHPA Board is the Dietary Supplement and Healthy Meal Replacement Tax Parity Act (H.R. 1107). This bill was introduced by Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY) on February 15, 2007, and has twelve bipartisan cosponsors. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to qualify dietary supplements and meal replacement products that are authorized to bear FDA-approved health claims as tax deductible medical expenses.

"AHPA's support for this legislation is in recognition of its acknowledgment of the importance of nutrition and the benefits of dietary supplements to health promotion and disease prevention," commented McGuffin. "AHPA agrees with Congressman Towns' assertion, as expressed in the bill's preamble, that Federal tax policy should promote consumers' access to dietary supplements in order to decrease ever-increasing health care costs and to promote wellness," he added.

H.R. 1107 has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means and a copy of this bill is also posted on AHPA's website: http://www.ahpa.org/portals/0/pdfs/HR1107_HSAFSA.pdf.


The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the only national trade association devoted to herbal issues. Representing the core of the botanical trade -- comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products -- AHPA’s mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of quality with respect to the way herbal products are manufactured, labeled, and sold. Website: www.ahpa.org.

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