The Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act would amend the 1997 Food Stamp Act to allow those who qualify for food stamps to use them toward nutritional supplements that provide a vitamin or mineral, in addition to the present conventional foods. At the heart of the issue is the lack of proper nutrition in many American diets, as well as the fact that dietary supplements are not being fully made available to help bridge this gap. "This legislation would address a need that Senator Harkin identified several years ago," said AHPA president Michael McGuffin. "I have heard him on several occasions decry the fact that food stamps can be used to buy candy and sodas, but not basic nutritional supplements." This month, the proposed amendment was introduced in Senate Senator Tom Harkin. It has been referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. AHPA has also indicated it is lending its support to another piece of proposed legislation that would make it easier for those with financial constraints to have access to dietary supplements. The Dietary Supplement and Healthy Meal Replacement Tax Parity Act would amend the Internal Revenue Code to qualify dietary supplements and meal replacement products that are authorized to bear FDA-approved health claims as tax deductible medical expenses. The bill was introduced to Congress in February by Representative Edolphus Towns and has 12 bipartisan cosponsors. It has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. "AHPA's support for this legislation is in recognition of its acknowledgment of the importance of nutrition and the benefits of dietary supplements to health promotion and disease prevention," commented McGuffin.