Senator McCain most likely found himself a pawn in someone else's game. Or was he misguided in his concerns that he could  protect NFL players from drugs (steroids and steroid precursors) that were being peddled in adulterated supplements? Maybe he wasn't told that the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act, passed in 1994, already provided the legal instrument to stop adulteration of supplements. Or maybe it wasn't, for political reasons, convenient for him to listen to this pivotal information.

Whatever his reasons, McCain went ahead and introduced bill S. 3002, known as the the Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA), on February 2nd, 2010.

The bill proposes an EU-style regulatory regime for supplements (which, let’s remember are nothing other than concentrated nutrients delivered in dose form), that includes:

  • Registration of all manufacturers
  • Creation of an approved list of accepted dietary supplement ingredients (along the lines of the EU positive list)
  • Negative impact on innovation by creating great hurdles for submitting new ingredients that were not on sale prior to the passage of DSHEA in 1994
  • Bolstering the requirement for companies to file reported 'non-serious adverse reports' under the existing Adverse Event Reporting (AER) system, which may well be bogus and can then be used by the FDA to cripple companies following their new powers, issued under the DSSA, to issue product recalls

ANH-USA has led the charge against the McCain's poorly construed bill, that we believe will sabotage the potential for nutrients to be used effectively for self-maintenance of health as well as the use of nutrients under the supervision of integrative medicine practitioners.  The Act would also have dire consequences on herbal medicine, including decimating some of the great, eastern healthcare traditions, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

In short, McCain’s bill must be stopped! A compromise is unacceptable, and the intent of it should not find its way into other bills that are either being amended or are on the drawing board.

Update from our ANH-USA website


As we explained in our special message last week, Senator McCain in private conversations within the Senate has agreed to withdraw support for the worst provisions of the DSSA. He is reeling from the massive outpouring of opposition from the American public. In a letter dated March 4, Senator Hatch wrote to Senator McCain, “I want to thank you for agreeing to withdraw your support for the provisions of S. 3002 that I believe would do great harm to the dietary supplement industry”.

McCain’s retreat was further confirmed by a McCain staffer. At the same time, other reports have stated that the Senator is “revisiting” the bill after meeting with Senator Hatch, and has no plans to withdraw the bill as it stands.

So far, Senator McCain has remained publicly silent. The last public statement he made was his floor statement in which he seemed to misunderstand what was in his own bill.

Technically, Senator McCain cannot withdraw the DSSA from the Senate without unanimous Senate agreement; however, he can publicly announce his intention to withdraw his support for the disastrous provisions of the bill, what he has already told Senator Hatch privately. We invite McCain to clear up the remaining confusion about his intentions and set the record straight!

It’s critical to receive confirmation from McCain directly. Now is the time to keep the pressure on to ensure the final defeat of DSSA! So, until we hear directly from Senator McCain, let’s keep contacting our senators to express our opposition.

There are also numerous rumors floating around that individual elements of the McCain bill will turn up as amendments to other legislation. We will be maintaining our steely vigilance against all other legislative efforts that might infringe consumer and practitioner access to US natural health products, on which so many Americans (and hundreds of thousands outside of America) depend.

(For any of you just coming into the conversation now, Senator McCain’s mis-named Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA) would repeal key legislative protections for supplements. It would give the FDA arbitrary authority to pre-approve a discreet list of supplements and dosages while banning all others. This would almost certainly lead to a highly restrictive European style regime with very few approved supplements and dosages.)  Take action here to defeat this bill!  

Views from US constitutional lawyer


Jonathan Emord is a US attorney who has appeared before federal courts and agencies frequently on behalf of clients who seek a lessening or an elimination of regulatory constraints that deny them basic rights to liberty. He practices food and drug law, deceptive advertising law, and libel law.

He has recently written 2 articles for regarding the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010 introduced to the United States Senate by John McCain.

To read the full articles, please use the links provided.






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