Funding to assess benefits of omega-3 fatty acid consumption
spending bills for the dietary supplement industry.
The US Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) has monitored two spending bills for the dietary supplement industry: the Labour, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Related Agencies (Agriculture), which provides funding for the FDA. These appropriations bills provide the vehicle for new and continued funding for projects, federal programs and various other spending initiatives for the year. The Labor HHS Bill provides the yearly funding for the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). In October an amendment was proposed to the Labor HHS Appropriations Bill that would provide $500,000 to the Health and Human Services (HHS) general counsel for legal support to enforce the labeling provisions of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). The bill also included a recommendation for funding for more botanical research centres, an initiative on the safety and efficacy of ephedra products, an assessment of the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid consumption, and a recommendation that the Secretary of Agriculture work with the FDA to undertake appropriate enforcement of the DSHEA relating to accuracy of claims of dietary supplement ingredients and false and misleading claims. The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill (S 1191) has two provisions of importance to the dietary supplement industry: $1 million for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) for accuracy of product labelling and substantiation of claims; $3 million to improve, upgrade and modernise the FDA adverse event reporting (AERs) system. While these provisions are included in the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill, they are not included in the House version. CRN and other dietary supplement associations have sent a letter to the senators and representatives on the appropriations conference committee, urging them to keep the Senate provisions in the final language of the bill.