With elections just aroung the corner I thought it might be interesting to review who in Congress has been a real leader on our health and nutritional supplement issues.   Here are three areas that have been addressed:

1.  Your right to access natural health options

2.  Your right to choose a toxic-free environment

3.  Your right to the healthy food of your choice

1.  Your Right to Access Natural Health Options:  included the Free Speech About Science Act.  This act opposed the FDA’s Draft Guidance on New Dietary Ingredients (NDI) and opposed Den. Durbin’s anti-supplement amendment.

Senate Champions:  Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Mike Enzi (R-WY).  Both Hatch and Harkin helped get the FDA to withdraw its NDI Draft Guidance and both stood up to  Sen. Durbin’s amendment that would have drastically reduced access to nutritional supplements through a litany of unnecessary new regulations.

Paul introduced an amendment that would curb FDA’s overreach and abuse of power, put an end to raids on natural food stores and Amish farmers, and stop FDA censorship of truthful claims of dietary supplements.  Enzi spoke out on the Senate floor against Sen. Durbin’s attempt to pass his supplement labeling act.

House Champions:   Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT),  Rob Bishop (R-UT), Jared Polis (D-CO), Jack Kingston (R-GA), and Sam Farr (D-CA).

Chaffetz, Bishop and Polis voiced serious concern over FDA’s NDI draft guidance and all three are members of the Dietary Supplement Caucus.  Chaffetz and Polis also introduced the Free Speech About Science bill.

Kingston and Farr, as House Appropriations Committee chair and ranking member, respectively were instrumental in inserting language into the congressional report that urged the FDA to withdraw the July 2011 NDI draft guidance.  This was one of the few nutritional/health issues Kingston has supported.

(R-TX) rep. Ron Paul and (R-IN) rep Dan Burton have been great supporters of health and health freedom.  Both men are retiring this year which is a big loss for all of us.

2.  Your Right to Choose a Toxic-Free Environment

Who opposed GMOs and GE salmon, supported GMO labeling, wanted to limit exposure to BPA and limit the use of antibiotics in animal feed, and have public disclosures on hydraulic fracking?

Senate Champions:  Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA),  Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), have supported GMO labeling.  Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Don Young (R-AK) have focused on Frankenfish besides GMO issues.

House Champions:  Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Sam Farr (D-CA) have been outstanding on all GMO, BPA, and fracking issues.  Rep. Louise Slaughter (-NY) has led the fight to limit antibiotics in animal feed.

3.  Your Right to the Healthy Food of Your Choice

Who supported a farmer’s market exemption from the Food Modernization Act, supported access to raw milk, and fought school lunch programs from classifying frozen pizza as a vegetable?

Senate Champions:  Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) sponsored several raw milk amendments.  Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) who is a small farmer, fought to get farmer’s markets and small farms exempted from many of the controvesrsial Food Safety Modernization Act requirements.

House Champions:  Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) co-sponsored a raw milk bill, and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) sponsored the Slice Act, a bill that would remove frozen pizza from being classified as a vegetable for school lunches.

I hope you found this summary interesting with regards to your own personal health.  I am grateful for the men and women who are trying to safeguard and preserve our freedom of choice regarding supplements, health care, and food safety.  However, it saddens me that there aren’t more of our Senators and House Representatives involved in the cause, and trying to place checks and balances on the FDA and AMA regarding our freedom.

I would like to suggest that each of us send a letter, email, or fax, to these individuals to personally thank them for their work and efforts in our behalf.

Dr. Janeel Henderson