Day on the Hill: Industry and Congress Coming Together

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Members of AHPA, CHPA, CRN and UNPA come together on the Capitol Hill steps during the 2019 Dietary Supplement Day on the Hill.

Washington, D.C.—The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) hosted their 16th annual Day on the Hill from June 11-12, in conjunction with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA). Mike Greene, the SVP of government relations at CRN, told WholeFoods: “The other Industry associations brought different perspectives, and it was great that all of us were working in unison.”

As for how this year stacks up to previous years, Greene said: “Every year it gets better. It came off without a hitch. Folks were very excited about it.”

Industry executives, Greene said, were split into 12 groups. Each group attended a series of meetings with different members of Congress. The structure of the event, Greene noted, means that CRN is “still in the process of gathering information, and hasn’t digested it all yet. It’s hard to say exactly what was covered just yet, but we’ll put together a report on specifics once we’ve got everything together.”

Until then, a list of general topics attendees discussed:

  • CBD, and a legal pathway to bring it to market.
  • Ensuring adequate funding for the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs.
  • Discussing the SNAP Vitamin and Mineral Act, which, Greene noted, is both bicameral and bipartisan: “We’re encouraging Congress members to be co-sponsors; multivitamins can help fill nutrient gaps for low-income Americans, which is vital.”
  • Encouraging congress members to join the Dietary Supplements Caucus, especially those with interest in the Industry—“It really is the best way to educate them on the Industry, and on innovative ingredients, including CBD,” Greene said.
  • Educating congress members in general: “We talked about the 380,000 jobs the Industry has created in the U.S.; we also talked about our successful Consumer Confidence Survey, which showed that around 75% of people in the U.S. take supplements,” Greene said.

The Congress members themselves, Greene added, were well-educated, thoughtful, and interested in being there. “Representative Chellie Pingree from Maine stopped by to talk to us, she understood the laws and regulations around CBD; Representative Anthony Brindisi from New York, a freshman, came and spoke to us, he told us his story of how he began talking to dietary supplements, he was very well-spoken and intelligent and we’re excited to work with him; Dr. Andy Harris, a Representative from Maryland, gave a nice speech about the concerns he’s got and how nice it is to see the Industry working together.” In other words: Congress is as interested in working with us as we are in working with them.

Sen. Mitt Romney and CRN’s Steve Mister chat in the hall during the 2019 Dietary Supplement Day on the Hill.
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) speaks to attendees of the 2019 Dietary Supplement Day on the Hill.

Greene added that, while the Natural Products Association (NPA) does have their own Day on the Hill, CRN shares information with NPA to keep Industry messaging consistent.

WholeFoods will continue reporting as further information becomes available.

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