Natural Products Insider

MAY-JUN 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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naturalproductsinsider . com 43 It's an old adage: "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu—and if you can't fi nd a seat, you must bring your own chair." This is an apt metaphor for the way many organizations engage in government relations. Government relations is more than targeting and supporting candidates; it's about building trust and maintaining relationships. So, it's not enough just to get to the table— industry members must make friends, secure their place and ensure they get invited back. To hold on to this seat, stakeholders must be poised to adjust their outreach. Establishing a solid advocacy strategy, employing innovative engagement activities and fortifying government relations departments are all crucial steps companies must take to help industry maintain a strong, consistent presence on Capitol Hill, in the activist state legislatures, among attorneys general and more. "Lobbying" isn't a dirty word. Lobbying is one of the best ways to establish meaningful, lasting relationships with the nation's lawmakers. At its core, lobbying is about education. For the industry, it's about teaching lawmakers about the quality, safety and benefi ts of dietary supplements and functional foods. It's also an opportunity to remind them of the importance industry's products have in their constituents' health and wellness, as well as the economic impact of the industry. Effective lobbying is not glamorous. Effective lobbying means taking the time and effort to meet face-to-face with elected offi cials and their staff, inviting them to tour manufacturing facilities, or working with them to advocate for laws that recognize the appropriate role of dietary supplements and functional food in government policy and programs. The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) meets with freshman legislators in Congress to give its membership the opportunity to engage with elected offi cials and clarify misconceptions they may have about the industry. As industry champions, such as former Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and current Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), begin their retirements, industry must make new and lasting connections on Capitol Hill to further key policies that benefi t consumers. This year, CRN advocated for legislation that would allow consumers to purchase dietary supplements using medical savings accounts (like health saving accounts [HSAs] and fl exible saving accounts [FSAs]); provide low-income Americans the dignity of choice when using their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefi ts to purchase a multivitamin; and protect consumers against harmful, illegal substances such as selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) from entering the marketplace. Collaborating with other industry trade associations, CRN helps the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus sponsor educational briefi ngs, and, with help from its member companies, CRN encourages new legislators to join. In conversation with elected offi cials, CRN also showcases the practices of responsible industry. One of the greatest things industry members can do is to invite elected offi cials to tour facilities. Doing so is an excellent way to give lawmakers a fi rsthand look at how the industry adheres to cGMPs (current good manufacturing practices) and utilizes self-regulatory initiatives, like the Supplement OWL, in day-to-day operations and overall business models. History has shown it's not always easy to make friends in Washington—former President Harry Truman suggested getting a dog, instead. However, when the pendulum inevitably swings back to an environment of greater regulation, the relationships built through proactive advocacy will ensure industry maintains a positive, strong reputation on Capitol Hill. Now is the time to make new connections, build these relationships, reach out to legislative and regulatory stakeholders, and invite them to take a seat at industry's table. Only then will industry secure a place at theirs. Mike Greene is senior vice president, government relations, Council for Respon sible Nutrition (CRN,, a trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry. Advocacy The Importance of Industry Advocacy by Mike Greene NOW ON DEMAND Premium Series W E B I N A R SPEAKERS KRISTEN E. BLANCHARD Vice President, External Corporate Affairs Nutramax Laboratories NICK DESARNO Senior Manager, Digital and Communications Practice Public Affairs Council PETE EVICH Vice President Van Scoyoc Associates LORI KALANI Co-Chair, State AG Practice Cozen O'Connor MODERATOR MIKE GREENE Senior Vice President, Government Relations Council for Responsible Nutrition Navigating Government Relations for Dietary Supplements, Functional Food and Nutritional Products in the Current Political Landscape CO-SPONSORED BY: To watch, visit

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