Group Stays Focused on Policy
Baltimore, MD—At its annual business meeting held during Expo East, the Natural Products Association (NPA) announced that its recommendation to change its membership criteria was voted down. Failing by 11 votes, the change would have allowed for new retailer members that do not have a self-contained store or have less than 75% of their sales coming from natural products to qualify for membership.
Several other amendments to its bylaws passed, however. These include:
- To allow for an electronic voting process.
- To allow three consecutive terms for board members instead of the current limit of two terms.
- To change voting and board terms so they happen at a fixed time annually.
- To clarify determination of winners of elections in certain circumstances where more than the required number of candidates gets the majority of the vote.
- To clarify intent of the bylaws to specifically state that the NPA president must be off the board for one year before being eligible to run again.
“NPA membership gave us clear guidance on where they want us to go,” said NPA’s executive director and CEO John Shaw about the bylaw votes.
In addition, NPA announced that Ben Henderson of Bare Essentials Natural Market in Boone, NC, and Emil Mahler of Southtown Health Foods in Chicago, IL were elected to its board of directors. New supplier directors include Robert Agnew of Bob’s Red Mill; Frank Jaksch of ChromaDex; Michelle Lobo of Presence/Dynamic Presence; and J.R. Rigley of J.R. Watkins. Mark LeDoux of Natural Alternatives International was elected to a second term on the board.
Last, NPA gave out its annual awards during the meeting. Scott Bass of Sidley Austin won the President’s Award; Paul M. Coates, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health received the Burton Kallman Scientific Award; architect William McDonough took home the Rachel Carson Environmental Award; the Clinician’s Award went to herbalist David Winston; the Socially Responsible Retailer Award went to Nature’s Bin of Lakewood, Ohio, and the Industry Champion Awards were given to Mark Blumenthal of the American Botanical Council and Pat Sardell of Country Vitamins.
NPA’s advocacy efforts continue on many fronts, including the GMO labeling issue, according to Shaw. He says the Farm Bill is a potential avenue for GMO labeling reform that the group is monitoring. Shaw also points to buzzed about changes in the tax code as an area of concern for the industry. NPA is trying to advance the mindset of “first, do no harm” with legislators, in an effort to protect small natural products businesses and suppliers from tax burdens.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, online 9/25/13, revised 10/18/13