The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement industry, announced “a milestone of meetings,” having met with all 112 freshmen offices in the House and Senate within the first 60 legislative days of the 112th Congress. Following a landmark election cycle last November that saw large turnover in both chambers of Congress—96 freshmen offices in the House of Representatives and 16 new Senate offices, 112 combined—CRN’s “112th” Congressional educational effort seeks to ensure that newly elected representatives and senators, as well as returning members on key committees, have accurate information about dietary supplements and their contributions to good health.
The meetings with the new offices focused on the role of dietary supplements in good health, their value to healthcare savings and the economy in general, and the extent of the existing regulation for supplements under the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act (“DSHEA”).
“Incoming members face a daunting challenge of quickly getting up to speed on a myriad of issues and industries. Like so many other industries, the dietary supplement industry faces complex legal and regulatory challenges that require a focused and articulate education program if we hope to find allies on Capitol Hill,” said Mike Greene, vice president, government relations, CRN. “Our goal is to develop open lines of communication with legislators and to serve as a resource on potential legislative issues. We share a goal with Congress of ensuring that any potential dietary supplement legislation is crafted to protect consumers while still providing them appropriate access to beneficial, safe products without being inappropriately burdensome on taxpayers, regulatory agencies and industry.”
In addition to in-person meetings on Capitol Hill, Dietary Supplement Caucus (DSC) briefings and CRN’s annual Day on the Hill are also components of CRN’s outreach efforts. CRN meets regularly with members and staff of key committees, such as the Committees on Energy and Commerce, Oversight and Government Reform, and Ways and Means in the House of Representatives, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) in the Senate.
“Now that we have been able to meet with so many new faces in Congress and introduce CRN and the industry, we’ll adjust our approach to reflect specific requests and proposals, such as urging support for specific legislation, co-signing letters or joining the Dietary Supplement Caucus,” added Mr. Greene. “CRN’s annual Day on the Hill in June will provide our member companies an opportunity to meet with individual congressional offices and share their concerns and ideas, not just as representatives of the dietary supplement industry, but also as employers, economic contributors and constituents. This dialogue is an important next step in building and strengthening relationships with key decision makers in Congress.”
CRN, along with other industry associations, worked in cooperation with Congressional leaders to reinvigorate the DSC, which currently comprises 21 sitting members of the House and Senate. Several times a year, the DSC hosts educational briefings on the Hill. The next briefing—taking place on the same day as CRN’s Day on the Hill on June 15—marks the tenth briefing since 2008. The June 15 DSC briefing will feature keynote speaker and NFL Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus discussing the “I Play Clean” campaign and appropriate use of sports supplements.
“We’re pleased with what we’ve accomplished in the first 60 legislative days of this Congress, but we don’t intend to rest on our laurels. This is just one component of CRN’s ongoing efforts to educate legislators and their staffs. The relationships we have built over the years combined with those made thus far in the 112th Congress have provided the dietary supplement industry with a solid framework for the future,” said Mr. Greene.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our 75+ manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit www.crnusa.org.