DSHEA at 25: Revisiting our conversation with Scott Bass and Loren Israelsen

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags DSHEA DSHEA 2.0 Unmetered Unmetered Dietary supplements UNPA Fda

NutraIngredients-USA is republishing its hour-long 2019 interview with Scott Bass and Loren Israelsen, two of the key architects of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).

From the brilliant strategy of Sen. Orrin Hatch to the upswell of grassroots consumer pressure and the ‘highly unusual’ personal intervention of an FDA Commissioner, the development and passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act is a fascinating story...

In February 2019, Scott Bass and Loren Israelsen flew to Chicago to spend an afternoon discussing the genesis of DSHEA, the political intrigue and the industry personalities seeking to stamp their influence on the bill that would subsequently become the law of the land.

“Loren and I became good friends in 1990 when we were drafting the NLEA [Nutrition Labelling and Education Act] exception for supplements and then I remember to this day that DSHEA really started in a call between Loren and me in December of ‘91,” Bass said.

“It was a snowy day, we were all flying in to Colorado for a meeting of industry, and we looked at each other and said, this is it. The FDA has fired a shot across the bow by saying that herbs were not nutritional. And that’s when Loren… the people in Utah went to Hatch, and that’s how it started.”

“What people don’t release is that this unanimously passed law was actually passed only because of the brilliance of the strategy of Senator Orrin Hatch,” he added.

The passage was not straightforward, and there were many twists and turns as the language of the bill took shape.

“This was the Rasputin Bill: It lived and died more times than you can imagine,” Israelsen said.

“One of the interesting battles and this where you saw the two factions of the industry go at each other is that there was one group that much preferred the term ‘nutritional’ supplement and then there was the other group that insisted that it had to be ‘dietary’, because on those two words would hang all the difference.”

The DSHEA Summit

This year marks DSHEA’s 30th​ anniversary, and Bass and Israelsen and a number of other industry leaders will convene on stage for the landmark DSHEA Summit​.

Hosted by NutraIngredients-USA and supported by the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), this half-day event will bring together the architects of the law, key industry stakeholders, and former and current FDA officials to discuss the past, present, and future of the US dietary supplements industry.

The DSHEA Summit will take place at the Hyatt Regency, Salt Lake City on Monday, June 10, 2024, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Speakers include:

- Scott Bass, Partner, Global Life Sciences, Sidley Austin
- ​Christine Burdick-Bell​, EVP & General Counsel​, Pharmavite
- ​Robert Durkin, Partner, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP​ &​ former acting Director and Deputy Director, Office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP), FDA
- Jim Emme, CEO, NOW Health Group
- Loren Israelsen, ​President and Founder, United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA)
- Patricia Knight, Senior Political Advisor, UNPA ​& former Chief of Staff to Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
- George Paraskevakos, Executive Director, International Probiotics Association (IPA)
- Peter Reinecke, Senior Political Advisor, UNPA & former Chief of Staff to Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
- Dr Cara Welch,Director, Office of Dietary Supplements Programs, FDA

Please click HERE​ for more information and to register.

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