Natural Foods Merchandiser

Citizens For Health Moves To Washington

One of the largest consumer-based natural products advocacy groups has moved from the center of the natural products universe to the seat of the federal government.

Citizens For Health relocated from Boulder, Colo., to Washington, D.C., late last year. The new location better enables the organization to impact federal decision-making centers regarding its threefold agenda—food and water safety, alternative and complementary medicine, and dietary supplements—says Jim Turner, chairman of the board.

Being in Washington also makes it easier to track and impact federal legislation, and Turner said there were a number of legislative initiatives on its radar screen. First is the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which held its first hearing last September under chair John Breaux, D-La. "The senator said he wanted to look with great intensity on the [Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act's] operation," Turner said.

Further, if an expected bill concerning prescription drug reimbursement comes up in the next congressional session, there might be a call to investigate DSHEA. "There are a whole lot of enemies of DSHEA on the Hill," Turner said. "Well over half the Congress that passed the law are no longer members."

Citizens' grassroots work organizing natural products consumers won't be affected by the move, Turner said. Quite the contrary, it has retained the services of former congressman Tom Andrews, who currently serves as the strategic advisor to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, to develop a new campaign.

The move coincided with the addition of an interim CEO, Ken Akuta, formerly of Akuta is a candidate for the position, but regardless of that outcome, he will continue to advise Citizens on new technology issues.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 3/p. 30

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