The National Nutritional Foods Association will hold its Industry Reception at Natural Products Expo East, Friday Sept. 5. The nonprofit organization says that Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, will address the audience about issues and challenges currently facing the industry as well as a new bill that he and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, recently introduced to Congress.
The DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act (S. 1538) would increase funding to enable the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fully implement the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, a bill Harkin and Hatch co-authored in 1994. It would also increase funding, from $18 million to $30 million annually, for the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements. DSHEA created the office to expand research and provide consumer information on dietary supplements.
"Passage of this legislation would, once and for all, end the debate over whether FDA has sufficient resources to implement DSHEA," says David Seckman, NNFA's executive director and chief executive. "If this bill is passed, the FDA will have no more excuses for inaction. It will also put to rest the idea that Congress and the industry don't want to see DSHEA fully implemented."
The DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act would appropriate $205 million to the FDA over the next five years, beginning with $20 million in 2004 and increasing annually. This first-year funding is more than double the amount appropriated in 2003 for the same purpose. The bill also requires the FDA to submit to Congress each year a written report detailing how the agency is using its resources to regulate supplements.
A different bill in Congress, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2003 (S.722), is another top priority for NNFA. According to NNFA, the bill would subject dietary supplements to a level of scrutiny that is unwarranted, unnecessary and costly. "Fortunately," says Seckman, "we've been able to mobilize grassroots support to oppose this bill, whether it's presented on its own or as an amendment to another bill."
In addition to addressing legislative issues, the NNFA's Industry Reception will include an award presentation. The Socially Responsible Retailer Award will be given to Phillip and Margaret Nabors, founders of Mustard Seed Market & Café in Akron, Ohio. The award, which is new in 2003, recognizes NNFA members that excel in integrating social responsibility in multiple aspects of their businesses, including volunteerism, education, employee empowerment, environment and health.
"(Phillip and Margaret) are deeply committed to the wellness of community, customers and staff through outreach programs and healthy, environmentally sound business practices," says Tracy Taylor, NNFA's director of public affairs and communications. The SRRA has also been given to Betsy Billingslea, owner of Betsy's Health Foods Inc. in Houston, and Eve Prang Plews, president of Full Spectrum Health in Sarasota, Fla., who accepted their awards at NNFA MarketPlace 2003.
NNFA's Industry Reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Level 3 of the Washington Convention Center.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIV/number 9/p. 24