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NFPA VOICES OPPOSITION TO PROPOSED DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS LEGISLATION

 WASHINGTON, June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Two bills that would amend the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) to permit dietary supplements to make health claims that foods could not make "would be harmful for both the food industry and consumers," according to the National Food Processors Association (NFPA).
 "This proposed legislation is a marketing dream for dietary supplement manufacturers," said John Aguirre, NFPA's director- government affairs. "Health claims distilled from the latest nutrition fads and now restricted to catalogues and advertisements would be placed directly onto the supplement label to entice consumers walking down the aisle of the local grocery store."
 The bills, S. 784 and H.R. 1709, "would create a regulatory regime for dietary supplements that is much more relaxed than that which applies to conventional foods," Aguirre pointed out. "Congress, when it passed the NLEA, mandated that foods containing the exact same nutrients as dietary supplements be held to a rigorous scientific standard designed to assure the consumer of truthful claims. Yet, if this legislation is enacted, food shoppers will be confronted with supplement labels touting all sorts of health and disease related claims, while food labels remain silent."
 The purpose of the NLEA is to educate consumers by providing them with the information necessary to make proper dietary choices, Aguirre explained. "The proposed bills would blunt the important educational effects of the NLEA and would, in fact, create consumer confusion."
 Aguirre noted: "This legislation would provide dietary supplements a decisive marketing advantage. However, FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler, in statements before a Congressional appropriations panel, said that there is no scientific basis for regulating dietary supplements differently than foods containing the same nutrients."
 Consumer confusion over dietary choices would be a likely outcome of the passage of this legislation, Aguirre said. "Health claims for supplements -- some of them based on unsound science -- would proliferate under the permissive standards of this proposed legislation," he stated.
 NFPA will oppose all efforts to dilute the NLEA or hold dietary supplements to a less rigorous standard of evidence than that required of food products, Aguirre said. "Under the NLEA, the food industry is held to rigorous requirements for health claims. To avoid consumer confusion, dietary supplements should be held to the same standard."
 NFPA is the scientific voice of the food industry, concentrating exclusively on food issues. The association's 500-member companies produce the nation's processed-packaged fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood, juices and drinks, and specialty products.
 -0- 6/4/93
 /CONTACT: Timothy Willard of the National Food Processors Association, 202-637-8060/


CO: National Food Processors Association ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: LEG

IH-MH -- DC011 -- 5377 06/04/93 10:48 EDT
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Date:Jun 4, 1993
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