WEST CALDWELL, N.J., June 7, 2006 – When nearly 50 lobbyists blanketed the California state capital late last month for meetings with 60 of California’s 120 state senators and assemblymen, Nutratech, Inc.’s Danielle Thomas, director of marketing and sales, was among them. The 4th Annual Natural Foods Lobby Day, sponsored by the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) West was designed to introduce the NNFA-West to the assembly members and senators representing California and to help gain their support for NNFA-West’s efforts.
Five bills relating to community health are currently up for consideration in California, including several targeting childhood obesity, healthy school lunch programs, and educational programs that will teach children about eating well and organic foods. The NNFA-West supports bills that promote health and wellness.
The lobbyists who visited Sacramento on May 24 included representatives from health food companies, supplement manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and retailers. They were divided into teams and met with assemblymen and senators from their own districts. Each group discussed recent findings from an evidence-based study by the Falls Church, Virginia-based Lewin Group that showed the value, safety and efficacy of dietary supplements and the significant savings to California and the entire health care system when people use supplements.
In the Lewin Group study, five natural products were evaluated: calcium, folic acid, glucosamine, Omega 3 fatty acids, and saw palmetto. In the case of folic acid, for instance, the report showed that if an additional 10.5 million women of child-bearing age took the recommended 400 micrograms of folic acid on a regular basis, about 600 fewer babies would be born with neural tube defects such as spina bifida. That amounts to a cost savings of $321.8 million, the study showed.
“By meeting with the lawmakers, we were showing them that not only good nutrition, but also supplementation can save lives and save billions of dollars associated with health care costs,” Thomas said.
The NNFA-West lobbyists also stressed the need to work closely with lawmakers. “We need to give elected officials factual, honest information from which they can draw logical conclusions,” Thomas said. “Before these meetings, many legislators had never heard of the Lewin study and didn’t know anything about the benefits it showcases.”
The annual event was a success, Thomas said, noting the careful and detailed planning NNFA-West put into the event beforehand kept everything running smoothly. “We put a human face to the dietary supplement industry with our elected officials,” Thomas said. “Now they understand that we are not a big amorphous group of people with sinister intent,” Thomas said, “We are parents and grandparents interested in raising healthy kids and saving on health care costs.”
Dot Boyd, executive director of NNFA-West, says the organization was “thrilled with the positive meetings we had, the energy and enthusiasm of the group, and the turnout. We are very grateful Nutratech allowed us to have Danielle for the day.”
The Lobby Day event was sponsored by industry-leading companies including Jarrow Formulas, Nutraceutical and CAPSUGEL.
Nutratech, Inc., provides innovative, proprietary and patented nutraceutical ingredients to the dietary supplement, weight management, sports nutrition, beverage and food industries. The company is currently headquartered in West Caldwell, N.J. For more information on Nutratech and Advantra Z, visit the company’s web site at www.nutratechinc.com.
# # #