The Natural Products Association (NPA) hosted members and supporters at the 15th Annual Natural Products Day in Washington, D.C., on March 27. Retailers, manufacturers and suppliers from across the country met with senators, representatives and their staffs to talk about legislation and regulatory activity that affects the natural products industry. Participants ranged from industry pioneers who have long advocated for the industry to rookies making their voices heard on Capitol Hill for the first time.
“We are pleased that so many NPA members and industry stakeholders recognize the importance of meeting with their elected officials and educating them about the benefits of natural products for their constituents,” said NPA President Jeff Wright. “Natural Products Day gives us the opportunity to thank our allies in Congress and gain additional support. It’s especially important that we educate new Congressional leaders about the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act so that consumers continue to have access to safe, affordable dietary supplements.”
During their meetings, attendees discussed the regulation of dietary supplements and the impact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) draft New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) guidance could have on their businesses. They also requested that legislators join the Dietary Supplement Caucus (DSC), a bipartisan group of senators and representatives that brings Congressional attention to the role of supplements in health promotion and disease prevention, and addresses supplement regulation.
In addition, Congress was asked to support the Family and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011, which would allow Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) dollars to be used for supplements and meal replacements, up to a cap of $1,000 per year. Lawmakers also were asked to support the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act when it is introduced. The bill would remove another 25+ substances from the marketplace and give the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) authority to temporarily schedule a product until testing is completed.
The day ended with an evening reception on Capitol Hill for attendees, legislators and staff. At the reception, NPA presented Congressional Champion Awards to several legislators:
- Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa
- Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah
- Representative Dan Burton of Indiana
- Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah
- Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey
- Representative Jared Polis of Colorado
Senator Harkin and Representatives Chaffetz and Pallone addressed the group, expressing their support for the industry and gratitude for this honor. Staff members from the offices of Senator Hatch and Representative Burton were on hand to accept their awards. NPA will continue to work with all members across party lines to strengthen the industry’s position in Congress. Learn how to get involved at NPAinfo.org.