The decision this week to remove a provision from the proposed US Farm Bill which would have made nutritional supplements more widely available to those people with the lowest incomes has been strongly criticised by industry association the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).
The US Senate had already passed the Bill, but the provision has now been removed by the House-Senate conferees.
John Cordaro, president and chief executive officer of the CRN, said that the decision to remove the provision meant that "millions of food stamp recipients would be denied the freedom to choose vitamin and mineral supplements which could enhance their diet and nutritional status".
He went on to praise Senator Tom Harkin who had proposed the original Farm Bill and the rest of the Senate which had approved it. He said the addition of vitamins and minerals to the food stamp scheme could have helped reduce the incidence of neural-tube birth defects, osteoporosis, heart disease, and some forms of cancer among low-income Americans.
"The Council for Responsible Nutrition is pursuing other efforts to improve nutrition benefits for food stamp recipients," he concluded.