The period briefing—this was the 30th such meeting—took place last week on Capitol Hill and featured an appearance by U.S. soccer player Christie Pearce (formerly Rampone), who was a three-time Olympic gold medalist and was on two World Cup winning teams. Pearce, a defender, has the second-most appearances in the history of the national team with 311.
Pearce told those in attendance, mostly the staffs of those lawmakers who are members of the caucus, that she has been a longtime supplement user.
“One thing I’m always focusing on is my fitness,” Pearce said at the meeting. “If it weren’t for the proper supplements, I don’t know if my level of play would be where it is today.”
Pearce said the demands that her training schedule put on her body meant that just eating the right foods was not enough. In addition to her ambitious schedule with the national team, Pearce has also played professional soccer on club teams. She currently plays for Sky Blue FC in New Jersey.
“I began looking to trusted sources of information, such as team nutritionists, and took a good look at product labels. As I transitioned from college playing to the national team, I realized that the foods I was eating were not enough. The right supplements give you something extra. They helped me prepare for each training session and game,” Pearce said.
Personalizing the proceedings
Pearce was introduced by longtime supplement caucus member Rep. Frank Pallone, D-NJ, who was one of several members of Congress in attendance. Most of the approximately 115 people in attendance at the meeting, which is a joint production of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Natural Products Association (NPA), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), were staffers. Ingrid Lebert, senior director of government affairs for CRN, said having a big name at the hearing is something that is done fairly frequently as a way to both popularize and personalize the proceedings.
“Periodically, at least once a year, we bring in a big name,” Lebert told NutraIngredients-USA. “I like to thing of the meeting as a well balanced diet of the issues. But we also serve a dessert, such as bringing in someone like Christie. The material can seem a little esoteric, but a lot of people can relate to issues that come up in training, like avoiding cramps.”
“In the past we’ve brought in Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, and Dick Butkus, a Hall of Famer from the Chicago Bears. People were highly engaged in this recent meeting and we had a lot of great questions at the end, which showed that people were really listening,” she said.
In addition to Pearce’s presentation, Lebert said the meeting also featured a brief overview of progress on the Supplement OWL database, in which companies enter detailed information about their products and the ingredients in them. Lebert said Pearce did say that the database could have been useful to her in the past in making her supplement choices.