The passage of the health-care reform bill is a huge boon to the healthy foods and dietary-supplements industry, but most of all it is a boon to consumers, the Council for Responsible Nutrition said.
"The real opportunity here is the acknowledgment on the part of the federal government that there are benefits to healthy eating and that dietary supplements play a key role in a healthy lifestyle," said Mike Greene, vice president, government relations, at CRN, the trade association for dietary supplements manufacturers and ingredients suppliers in the US.
In particular, two parts of the bill — signed into law by President Obama on March 23 — drive these ideas home.
"Title IV of the bill is all about the prevention of disease and improving health," Greene said. "The ideas and concepts of prevention and wellness are underscored throughout, and we are pleased with that.
"Secondly, there is a provision we really care about, Section 4206, which will be a demonstration project for individualised wellness plans. It will involve grants for up to 10 community health projects in low-income areas to look at key wellness activities, such as smoking cessation, diet counseling, exercise programmes and proper dietary-supplement use," Greene said.
Section 4206 specifies that counseling for proper dietary-supplement use involve supplements that have FDA-approved health claims, so this would include such nutrients as folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, soy protein and fibre. Because it does not say whether the claims must be qualified or unqualified, it could also mean others such as omega-3s and antioxidants.