New Congress could provide opening for rules that could burnish industry’s reputation, CRN says

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Regulation, Ingredients & nutrition, labeling, mandatory product listing

A shift in the relative power bases in the US House of Representatives could provide a window to make changes to dietary supplement industry regulation that could help all its players, said Steve Mister, head of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

Mister spoke with NutraIngredients-USA at the recent SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas, NV. The video was recorded before the midterm elections had concluded.

With that said, Mister said the new Congress could provide some opportunities to better insulate the industry from attack.  Industry foes still have the ability to quickly gain attention by trotting out tired tropes about an under regulated industry rife with bad actors.  The story essentially is that this is an industry that does not have consumers’ best interests at heart and is more concerned with chasing short term profits.

“We’re an industry that is so vulnerable to attack from media.  Yes, we have consumer confidence, but we could lose that in a black swan event very quickly,”​ Mister said.

MPL still leads legislative agenda

Chief among the regulatory changes that CRN would like to see is a requirement for Mandatory Product Listing.  Under this scheme, which has significant support within the industry (and some notable foes, too), companies would be required to notify the US Food and Drug Administration before putting a new product on the market and to load label information into a central public database.

“Mandatory listing is a way to say to our regulators and our consumers that we are not hiding anything that we are an industry that is not afraid to show FDA our labels.  It’s a simple ask,” ​Mister said.

Mister emphasized that in CRN’s view, some of the potential pitfalls raised by opponents of the idea are merely red herrings.  As far as he’s concerned, there is no premarket approval lurking in the weeds, nor could FDA find ways to prevent firms from uploading labels to the registry.

“As we’ve said all along, it’s a driver’s license, not a birth certificate,”​ Mister said.

An MPL requirement might have a chance to advance as part of an omnibus bill during the lame duck session.

“There is an appetite on the part of this Congress to get some unfinished business done,” ​Mister said.

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