Public conversation around the House’s recently passed, second-attempt Farm Bill (HR 2) has mostly revolved around the proposed increase of work requirements to be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
But one small amendment largely skipped by mainstream coverage of the bill, and celebrated by many in the supplement industry, was the inclusion of the SNAP Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act of 2017, which would allow SNAP participants to purchase multivitamin and mineral supplements using their benefits.
What the amendment includes
The amended language is included in Title IV, under ‘Nutrition,’ in HR 2, which states that that multivitamin-mineral dietary supplements, referred to as “multivitamin-mineral supplement for home consumption,” will be eligible for purchase with SNAP.
It defines a multivitamin-mineral dietary supplement as one that “provides at least half of the vitamins and minerals for which the National Academy of Medicine establishes dietary reference intakes, at 50 percent or more of the daily value for the intended life stage per daily serving as determined by the Food and Drug Administration.”
It also specified that a product is eligible if it “does not exceed the tolerable upper intake levels for those nutrients for which an established tolerable upper intake level is determined by the National Academy of Medicine.”
CRN: ‘While multivitamins and other nutritional supplements are not a replacement for a healthy diet, these products can help fill nutrient gaps’
Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a trade group representing the dietary supplement industry, said that the association “applauds the passage of HR 2 and commends the United States House of Representatives for voting to incorporate HR 3841, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act, as an amendment to the Farm Bill.”
He also lauded the Act as an example of “strong bipartisan support for helping Americans who might not otherwise be able to meet their basic nutritional needs.
“CRN commends Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL) and original cosponsors Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Mia Love (R-UT), and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) for introducing HR 3841 and applauds Rep. Rogers for offering this crucial amendment to the Farm Bill.”
He added that multivitamins and other nutritional supplements are not a replacement for a healthy diet, but “these products can help fill nutrient gaps and represent a solution for those looking to improve their nutrition status and ensure their families receive adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals.
“CRN stands ready to continue working with Congressional leadership so that all Americans may be empowered to reach their full nutrition potential.”
NPA: Working hard to get similar provisions in the senate version
Meanwhile, Dr. Daniel Fabricant, president and CEO of another trade association representing the industry called the Natural Products Association (NPA), said that more work needs to be done to get similar provisions in the senate version of the Bill
“I think everyone’s happy about it that the provisions are in [the House Bill]. I think the challenge is that there are a few scenarios right now given all the other political discussion,” he said.
“I think they may have to take the Senate Bill, so we’re working hard to get similar provisions in the senate. Right now, most amendments on the senate bill haven’t been brought to the floor. I think there are a lot of people that are going to want to amend the Farm Bill, and they’re going to do so on the floor.”
“It’s an interesting year politically,” he added. “I think one of the other things that may happen is…we may not see a full Farm Bill pass, we may just see extenders, kind of like a CR that gives it money until a full Farm Bill passes,” he explained.
“Some folks have explained that that may happen, they may not get a full Farm Bill done until after the [November midterm] elections, but I’m hoping that won’t be the case.”