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Update from Orrin Hatch on Dietary Supplement Safety Act

Update from Orrin Hatch on Dietary Supplement Safety Act

In response to Senator John McCain’s (R-Arizona) introduction of S. 3002, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) held a nationwide conference call today for representatives of dietary supplement companies.

Hatch echoed concerns that the bill would create “additional regulatory burdens” on responsible members of the dietary supplement industry and would curb the current consumer availability and choices of dietary supplements.

“The intent of the original McCain bill is to give the FDA the authority to remove harmful dietary supplement products from the market, such as anabolic steroids,” said Hatch. “The simple fact is that the small percentage of unscrupulous manufacturers that the McCain bill targets are breaking existing laws.”

Additionally, Hatch agreed that some of the bill’s proposals, such as giving FDA mandatory recall authority on products and requiring facility registrant updated, have already been established in the Food Safety Modernization Act, a bill introduced in 2009 and pending a Senate vote later this year.

Since its introduction on February 3, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act has been met with industry opposition, but Hatch reassured listeners on the call that changes are on the way.

“This issue is changing by the minute,” said Hatch. “I’ve been talking to John McCain a lot over the past few days and, as a result of those conversations, he now understands the serious impact this bill will have on your industry…He has told me that he does not want to do anything to hinder the ability of consumers to purchase their dietary supplements…I think he’s coming around; in fact, I know he is.”

Hatch went on to say that he expects McCain to make an announcement on the matter in Arizona this weekend.

Beyond legislative discussions in Congress, Hatch ended his statement urging dietary supplement companies to remain politically active and visible in Washington.

“You need to invite members of Congress to your facilities so you may introduce and educate them about the dietary supplement industry,” said Hatch. “Show them how hard you work to ensure that your products are safe. Encourage them to ask you questions and not make assumptions about your industry because an open and honest relationship with your members of congress will go a long way. It should your top goal in the 111th Congress.

“In addition, all of you need to become more involved in the legislative process. We need to increase our visibility on Capitol Hill. Many of you may come to Washington once or twice to lobby, but you need to do it more frequently; you need to be involved all year long.”

Senator Orrin Hatch was a co-author of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 and is a current member of the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs.

published date: 03-05-2010