Washington, DC — In a show of cooperative unity, members of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) convene together for the first time on Capitol Hill today to lobby legislators and their staff on the merits of nutritional supplements and their value to consumers and the economy.
Among the points legislators will hear advocated in 105 meetings organized by CRN for the 14th consecutive Day on the Hill is a proposal to include supplements such as multi-vitamins in the federal SNAP program for low-income families.
With that program facing cuts under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, the goal is aspirational, but important to start laying the groundwork for the future, CRN officials said in a conference call preparing for the day.
“Now more than ever, the industry needs to be united,” said Michael McGuffin, president, AHPA, at a Tuesday night reception and preparation session. “The more voices singing from the same songbook makes it that much easier to be heard.”
McGuffin said he approached the CRN with the idea of combining forces and they quickly jumped on the idea.
Industry representatives will also seek support to include supplements in the products consumers can purchase with funds from their Health Savings Accounts or Flexible Spending Accounts.
For the first time, media have been invited into the room, and we will be there. What happens in the lobbying sessions is private, but several legislators will address the 90+ attendees in public sessions.
So-called “fly-ins” with face-to-face meetings are an effective way to complement the work of groups like CRN and AHPA by making a personal appeal from actual constituent companies. The timing is also good because the House of Representative has 55 freshman members who are busy educating themselves.
Bryan Kirkland, regulatory affairs manager with specialty ingredient supplier Innophos Nutrition, Cranbury, N.J., said supplements often get a bad name because people think they are not regulated. He said it’s important that legislators become aware of things like the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).
CRN assembled a digital advocacy kit filled with facts and figures on the industry and its impact on citizens. Follow the Twitter hashtag #DoH17 for photos and updates throughout the day.