Saturday, May 29, 2010

Does Wall Street "Reform" Threaten DSHEA Products?

As most health freedom advocates know, the two most powerful "consumer protection" Federal agencies, the FDA and the FTC are not friendly toward natural products, including dietary supplements protected by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). Before that law, such products were under severe attack, so much so that FTC sought in 1975 to use its rule making power to effectively ban such products. By 1980 the public outcry caused Congress to restrict that power, and then in 1994 DSHEA was adopted, protecting our right to truthful information about nutrition.

Thus when a number of astute "old hands" in the industry said the new Wall Street "reform" * bill had language hidden in it that could threaten natural products with new general rule making power for the FTC to abuse we paid attention.

We've opposed this bill on that basis, with many thousands of messages to Congress demanding protection in the bill for DSHEA products.


Now along come some suggesting there is no problem here (somewhat the way some "old hands" thought John McCain's justly maligned and now happily defunct "Dietary Supplement Safety" bill, S.3002 was no threat). We're told there is no FTC empowerment language. We did our due diligence and researched the actual bill, S.3217. Go to and put in the bill number, open up the .pdf version and search for the name "Federal Trade Commission."

You'll find what I found:

I've reviewed the 1522 page .pdf file of the version of the bill considered by the US Senate. The terms "Federal Trade Commission" occurs on 26 pages. Five pages discuss FTC authority.

Page 1375 contains the smoking gun:

Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), the Federal Trade Commission shall continue to have authority to enforce, and issue rules with respect to—
(i) the Credit Repair Organizations Act (15 U.S.C. 1679 et seq.);
(ii) section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45) * and
(iii) the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act (155 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.)."

Section 45 of Title 15 states:

"Unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, are hereby declared unlawful. "

Notice how carefully the new law is stated, "continue to have authority to enforce, and issue rules..." -- so it will "continue to have authority to enforce..." -- notice carefully how it is worded, "..., and issue rules..." Thus "continue" applies to enforcing existing rules, dating from the 1970s or issued under limited laws passed by Congress (as they have done with regard to, for example, direct marketing) while "issue rules" is a new power which relates, tucked in section (ii) to the agency's general Section 5 authority!

So FTC now has authority to enforce and issue rules with respect to "unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce..."

That is general authority to control all interstate commerce without further authorization from Congress!

I therefore conclude that the bill does threaten natural and DSHEA products.

One of my colleagues, Counsel Jim Turner of Swankin and Turner, Washington DC attorneys, puts it this way:

"My understanding is that the FTC was stripped of this authority in 1980 and this is an effort to restore that authority. It has broad implication for example if what I understand is true then this is the authority that FTC used in its effort to ban the words 'organic, natural and health food' from all commerce. It is not good if this is happening."

June 2, 2010 Update: this cogent comment from Gretchen DuBeau of Alliance for Natural Health,

"My initial thought is that issuing rules in itself isn't terrible as long as the Magnuson Moss Act** isn't rescinded, as happened in section 4901 of the companion house bill. With all of those safeguards in place, FTC has difficult hurdles that prevent them from issuing controversial rules, such as formalizing their internal procedures re dietary supplement advertising. However, if section 4901 makes it into the final bill, coupled with the provision you pointed out, we might have a recipe for disaster!"

* In this case "reform" means a multi-trillion anti-market bailout and a slap on the wrist...

** The Magnuson Moss Act, passed in 1975, is the federal statute that governs warranties on consumer products. According to the Act, ambiguous statements in a warranty are construed against the drafter of the warranty.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

American Rally for Personal Rights - May 26, 2010

The American Rally for Personal Rights is scheduled for May 26, 2010 in Chicago. Some very good people will be there, speaking up for the rights of all people to vaccinate themselves and their children as and if they choose. We all agree, free people need to be free from coerced or forced vaccination!

The organizers say, "The breadth and depth of speakers assembled promises to be compelling, and include many people and perspectives on vaccination choice that have not been explored before, this is information that no one faced with the decision on whether or not to vaccinate should miss."

There are several ways to participate in the rally. You can join the rally-goers in Chicago's Grant Park on May 26th from 3pm to 5pm or you can join one of the satellite rallies that are being held on the east and west coasts.

The organizers state: "If out of town travel isn't possible, we are bringing the rally to you online so you can be a virtual participant! Watch the rally on the web site, or invite friends over and throw a House Party for Personal Rights. Make your presence felt in Chicago, even if you can't be there, by ordering balloons to represent your family at the rally in Chicago."

"As public health officials and politicians become more intent on forcing an over sized, poorly tested and largely unproven vaccine program on the American public, it is vital that we put the establishment on notice that we will not be forced into medical interventions that we do not believe are in our best interest or in the best interests of our children."

Rally on May 26th!

And in the spirit of the Rally, I offer a link to Dr. Rima E. Laibow MD's rousing folk song, The Health Freedom Trail:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Health Freedom Under Increased Threat

There is so much going on right now regarding Health Freedom... the attacks by the Powers that Be are, as Bill Faloon of Life Extension Foundation stated in an urgent message on 04/29: "The threat of a regulatory stranglehold over dietary supplements has intensified."

We have at least three dangerous bills pending in the US Senate, any one of which could be a real disaster for Health Freedom.

S.3002 - the happily stalled McCain bill. We pushed back against this one so hard that even McCain withdrew his support from his own bill just one month and a day after introducing it! This took about 300,000 emails. However, the Senator from Arizona is still hovering around, trying to get parts of his "HARMonization" with Codex bill terms into the other pending bills.

S.510 - the fake "Food Safety" bill. The "natural products" industry shills and astroturf groups are now backing this disaster, after promises of a Manager's Amendment to exempt DSHEA products. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Over a million and a half emails continue to pour in, demanding real protection in these words:

"Rule of Interpretation - No provision of this act shall be deemed to apply (a) to any home, home-business, homestead, home or community gardens, small farm, organic or natural agricultural activity, (b) to any family farm or ranch, or (c) to any natural or organic food product, including dietary supplements regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994."

Action Item:

S.3217 - the Senate version of the financial institution "reform" law. California Rep Waxman included more power for the FTC to abuse in the bill that passed the house. Congress took away from FTC in the 80s its general rule making power, due to abuse. Now, in the "new" socialist DC environment, the agency is about to get the power it wants to force Dietary Supplement companies to meet drug-company substantiation standards that are totally inappropriate for food products and that could destroy small nutrient companies.

Action Item:

And the above does not include such extraordinary assaults on Health and Health Freedom as are embodied in the new nationalized illness payment system... but that's going to get repealed sooner than its proponents can imagine! These other legislative assaults therefore demand our attention -- we need millions of emails to the Senate to push back and stop them!

As all this is occurring, a Codex Alimentarius (the World Food Code) committee on nutritional labeling is meeting in Canada perhaps defining the fate of world food trade for decades to come. Health Freedom is at stake there too. See Dr. Laibow's daily video reports from Quebec City here: