Industry associations urge against FTC’s expansion of powers

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Federal trade commission

Trade associations for the natural products and dietary supplements industry have joined associations from other industries to urge against the expansion of the rule-making and enforcement authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Both the Natural Products Association (NPA) and Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) are signatories on a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Senate Republican Leader McConnell, which urges against a section of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009.

“Granting the Federal Trade Commission broad new authority across all but a few sectors of the American economy is not a necessary or relevant response to the causes of the recent recession,”​ stated the letter.

“The financial troubles of the past year have not been laid at the FTC's doorstep, and provisions to expand the Commission's authority are out of place in legislation to reform the financial system,”​ it added.

To read the full letter, please click here​.

The letter comes in response to a section of the H.R. 4173 Bill that hands the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) powers to condemn healthy food and supplement messaging that is not backed by product-specific substantiation.

The section could mean that marketing statements on dietary supplements may require two ‘gold standard’ clinical trials to back them, said food attorney Marc Ullman on an industry blog.

Ingredient-based substantiation, where the claim relates to the active ingredient rather than the specific product, could lose its weighting, amid the desire of the Bill’s authors to crack down on flagrant internet and other forms of fraud.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz emphasized that fraud, not marketing, was the Bill’s target.

The letter stated, however, that “the Senate [is strongly urged] to focus its current debate on restructuring the financial regulatory system, and not rush to make changes to the FTC that would have a fundamental impact on a broad segment of the business community."

John Gay, NPA's CEO and executive director, said the association was asking its members to take action on the issue by “contacting their senators and urging them to focus on strengthening the stability of our economy, not regulating industries that had nothing to do with the financial crisis.”

"At a time when businesses are struggling to both survive and create new jobs, adding burdensome new regulations and ceding more authority over natural products businesses to the FTC is just what the economy does not need,”​ added Gay.

Related topics: Regulation

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