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NAAG DIETARY SUPPLEMENT ADVERTISING AND LABELING RESOLUTION ADOPTED

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

NAAG DIETARY SUPPLEMENT ADVERTISING AND LABELING RESOLUTION ADOPTED at the National Association of Attorneys General summer meeting in Chicago July 7-10. Entitled "Deceptive Claims in Dietary Supplement Labeling and Advertising," the resolution is said to have been passed unanimously by the attorneys general group to register opposition to misleading or inaccurate labeling and advertising for dietary supplements. The resolution, originally sponsored by Iowa AG Bonnie Campbell, was released by New York Assistant Attorney General Shirley Stark at a July 20 hearing of Rep. Edolphus Towns' (D- N.Y.) House Government Operations/human resources and intergovernmental relations subcommittee on the regulation of dietary supplements (see following story). The Iowa AG has been a particularly vocal opponent of deceptively marketed products, calling for the market withdrawal of products such as National Dietary Research's Food Source One diet aid since 1988 ("The Tan Sheet" May 10, p. 12). As a general mandate, the NAAG resolution "calls upon Congress to insure that manufacturers of dietary supplements remain subject to the jurisdiction" of FDA and that supplements be "held to the same standard as that required of other manufacturers whose products fall under the jurisdiction" of FDA. The resolution also declares that: "Health claims for dietary supplements must be supported by at least the same scientific standard as required for health claims for other products under the [Nutrition Labeling & Education Act] before they can be made"; and that "FDA retain adequate authority to be able to promptly remove potentially unsafe or deceptively labeled dietary supplements from the marketplace." A second general mandate of the resolution authorizes the executive director and general counsel of NAAG "to make these views known to members of the administration, Congress and other interested parties." The New York AG's office noted that the purpose of the second mandate is to publicly voice opposition to dietary supplement bills introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), and to begin an "aggressive" lobbying campaign against the legislation. Among their provisions, the Hatch and Richardson bills would not require FDA preclearance for dietary supplement health claims and would exempt supplements from FDA regulation under the food additive provisions of the FD&C Act ("The Tan Sheet" April 12, p. 6). Testifying at the July 20 hearing, New York assistant AG Stark began the NAAG lobbying initiative by railing against the Hatch and Richardson bills. "Any legislative proposal which shifts the burden to the underfunded and overworked FDA" to prove that a supplement poses a risk of personal injury will "result in consumers being subjected to unsafe products and unsubstantiated health claims for such products," Stark proclaimed. "From an enforcement perspective," Stark maintained, NAAG has "seen firsthand that claims made by dietary supplement manufacturers have often been among the most misleading and confusing claims in the food industry."
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