More than 165 natural products industry members converged on Capitol Hill April 12 for the National Nutritional Foods Association?s annual lobbying event, Natural Foods Day. Attendance was up from 120 participants last year.
?This year?s event was NNFA?s most successful lobbying effort to date,? NNFA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer David Seckman said in a release. ?With a variety of issues that pose both opportunities and challenges for our industry, participants effectively conveyed to our nation?s leaders the impact of these issues—in particular, the importance of preserving and implementing [the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994].?
Participants met with congressional leaders, political insiders and key staff members from their districts and states. A frequently discussed topic was the Healthy People, Healthy Choices Act of 2005 (H.R. 161), which participants urged members of Congress to support. The bill, introduced by Rep. Juanita Millender McDonald, D-Calif., would provide grants to promote nutrition and diet supplementation among minorities.
Participants also stressed the need for dietary supplements to receive the same tax treatment as drugs and over-the-counter medications, as well as the importance of increased research funding for the National Institutes of Health?s Office of Dietary Supplements and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Held in conjunction with Natural Foods Day was the first NNFA East Education Day, which gave attendees a chance to catch up with the latest trends and developments in the organics industry.
?The impetus for the Education Day was that the East region of NNFA had been in atrophy for a number of years,? said NNFA East?s Executive Director Walt Friesendorf. Natural Foods Day, he said, offered an opportunity to jump-start the organization.
More than 50 NNFA members from all regions heard Paul Schulick, founder of Brattleboro, Vt.-based New Chapter, speak on the emerging science on cinnamon and cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Industry veterans such as Jay Jacobowitz, president of Retail Insights of Brattleboro, Vt., and Michael Kanter, founder of Cambridge Naturals of Cambridge, Mass., fielded questions about retail practices.
?There was a lot of Q & A between the attendees and the speakers, and we received some good feedback the next day on the Hill,? Friesendorf said.Based on the response, the region plans to offer NNFA East Education Day on Capitol Hill again in
conjunction with Natural Foods Day 2006.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 6/p. 9