Food Politics + Justice

Published on June 24th, 2013 | by Jennifer Kaplan


Save Your Vitamins From Regulation


The folks at the Feingold Diet have yet again alerted me to important news. I received an email yesterday telling me that Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is planning to reintroduce his supplement bill, the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act (S 1310). The act would allow the Food & Drug Administration to regulate dietary supplements like they were drugs.

Using the number of reported “adverse events and medication errors” (called adverse event reports or AERs) associated with supplements, Durbin is trying to make vitamins look unsafe. However, the email points out that supplements have far fewer AERs than drugs and vaccines. They cite the fact that in 2008, the FDA received 1,080 AERs on dietary supplements, compared to 526,527 AERs on drugs and 26,517 AERs on vaccines.

In spite of the comparative safety of dietary supplements, Durbin considers current supplement safety unacceptable. So, how does Durbin reconcile the fact that there are vastly more AERs for drugs and vaccines? No comment apparently.

The email goes on to say:

The Dietary Supplement Labeling Act will put many (if not most) supplement companies out of business. The cost of your supplements will likely skyrocket and, more importantly, your choices will be limited.

Feingold’s main point is that the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act will compromise our ability to obtain natural supplements. And while Feingold doesn’t recommend supplements per se, they support our right to have access to supplements.

If you want to weigh in, The Alliance For Natural Health has started a petition: Tell Congress that Supplements Are Not Drugs!

Supplement bottle photo: Shutterstock

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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .

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