Coalition will work to maintain access to dietary supplements by protecting Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 6, 2004 – Today, dietary supplement industry leaders gathered to announce the formation of the Coalition to Preserve DSHEA, created to enhance the industry’s presence and influence in achieving favorable public policies on Capitol Hill. The Coalition’s primary goals will be to protect the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 and to cultivate a long-term base of support through education of Members of Congress and their staff.
“If we don’t stop harmful legislation and change the negative climate in Congress about our industry, the consequences will severely impact the access and affordability of all dietary supplements,” said David Seckman, chief executive officer of the Coalition. “That’s why, just as we did in the years leading up to the passage of DSHEA, we’ve united to increase our strength in achieving common goals.”
The Coalition is a non-profit organization comprised of major suppliers of dietary supplement products and services as well as leading industry trade associations and other supporters. Its activities, which are funded through donations, include personal visits with legislators and their staff to provide Members of Congress with an analysis of existing and future legislation.
“Only 50 percent of current members of the U.S. House and Senate were in office when DSHEA was passed ten years ago, and there has been an 80 percent turnover in legislative staff,” said Seckman. “The Coalition’s primary aim will be to educate current legislators and staff about the origin, effectiveness and numerous benefits that DSHEA and dietary supplements provide to the American public.”
Another important strategy of the Coalition is to reach out to dietary supplement retailers and consumers across the U.S. to educate them regarding the threats to DSHEA and motivate them to take action. Efforts are underway to develop a consumer Web portal so that consumers can express their opinions to Congress and the media, as well as a Web site of DSHEA resources for legislators and staff, the media and retailers.
“When DSHEA was making its way through Congress in the early 90s, there was a huge outpouring of grassroots support,” said Seckman. “In fact, this grassroots effort generated more mail and phone calls to legislators than any other topic since the Viet Nam War. We plan to reignite grassroots passion and utilize a variety of ways to keep our grassroots activists in meaningful contact with their legislators.”
Since the group’s formation in early 2004, the Coalition has submitted a citizen petition to the Food and Drug Administration that challenges the agency’s recent interpretation of the statutory definition of “dietary supplement,” and has held a series of meetings on Capitol Hill to protect the supplement DHEA, used by many older Americans and threatened by legislation under the Anabolic Steroid Act currently under consideration in both the House and Senate.
The Coalition consists of elected officers and members of the Executive Committee including:
Chief Executive Officer: David Seckman, National Nutritional Foods Association
Treasurer: John Venardos, Herbalife International of America, Inc.
Secretary: Gary Hume, Nutraceutical Corporation
The foundation of the Coalition is a collective representation of diverse natural products companies and associations:
Country Life Vitamins
Garden of Life
General Nutrition Companies, Inc.
Herbalife International of America
New Hope Natural Media - Penton Media
Industry Association Members
American Herbal Products Association
Council for Responsible Nutrition
Dietary Supplement Education Alliance
National Nutritional Foods Association
Utah Natural Products Alliance