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Trade Group Praises New Bill Allowing Food Stamp Coverage of Dietary Supplements.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--(BW HealthWire)--July 2, 1999--

The National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), a trade group representing the interests of retailers and manufacturers of dietary supplements, natural foods and other products, Friday praised new legislation that would allow the use of food stamps to purchase vitamins and minerals, a practice that is currently prohibited by the federal program.

The Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act of 1999, S. 1307, introduced by Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), on Wednesday, would, in Harkin's words, "Contribute substantially to improving the nutrition and health of a segment of our society that too often falls below recommended levels of nutrient consumption."

"Most of us don't get all the nutrients we need from our daily diet. This is particularly true for the economically disadvantaged," said Michael Q. Ford, NNFA's executive director. "This bill takes a critical step toward expanding access to dietary supplements for all Americans, and in particular those who may find it difficult to meet basic nutritional requirements through foods alone."

Ford added that it was also an opportunity to "Get the message across to Congress about the therapeutic benefits of dietary supplements."

In addition to the NNFA, the legislation is supported by a number of groups and nutrition experts, including the Alliance for Aging Research, the Spina Bifida Association of America, and the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Nutrition experts Dr. Paul Lachance, chair of the Department of Food Science at Rutgers University; Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg of Tufts University; Dr. Charles Butterworth, director of Human Nutrition at the University of Alabama Birmingham and Dr. Dennis Heldman, chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Missouri, have also called for making this change in food policy.

Among the findings cited in the bill were:

-- American dietary patterns result in nutrient intakes below the

recommended dietary allowances of vitamins and minerals

-- The elderly, children in low-income families, and pregnant

women often do not get adequate nutrition from diet alone

-- Supplementation with B vitamin folic acid can prevent up to 80

percent of neural tube birth defects

Established in 1936, the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) is the oldest and largest, non-profit trade organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the natural products industry for both retailers and suppliers.
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Date:Jul 2, 1999
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