Dietary Supplement Caucus Briefing Provides Congressional Staffers with the History, Background and Impact of DSHEA—Event celebrates the 20th anniversary of the passage of landmark legislation

Washington, D.C., October 16, 2014—On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994, congressional staffers learned the history and impact of the comprehensive law that created the modern dietary supplement industry and in the process ensured continued consumer access to a wide range of safe and regulated nutritional products. 

The educational briefing and luncheon, held on Oct. 14 by the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus (DSC) in cooperation with the leading trade associations representing the dietary supplement industry—the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Natural Products Association (NPA), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA)—provided the staffers with a background of the regulatory environment prior to the passage of the law, the issues that led to introduction and eventual passage of DSHEA, as well as the impact of the legislation in the 20 years since.

When signed into law by President Bill Clinton on Oct. 25, 1994, DSHEA crystalized Congress’ intent to officially recognize the role supplements can play in health promotion and in the prevention of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and osteoporosis. The legislation, for the first time, defined supplements as a distinct category of food products, established a new regulatory framework and created a mechanism for dealing with safety issues, regulated health claims and labeling. 

In addition, DSHEA provided for good manufacturing practices and established new government entities to review the regulations and to encourage research on dietary supplements. 

Twenty years later, the supplement industry, fueled by consumers’ continued interest in enhancing their health and wellbeing, has grown from around $41 billion in sales to $35 billion2, with more than 150 million Americans taking dietary supplements annually.

The briefing was led by Scott Bass, a partner in Sidley and Austin LLP, who was one of the lead industry negotiators with Congress and the Food and Drug Administration during the drafting of DSHEA; and Patricia Knight, founder of Knight Capitol Consultants. Knight was the chief of staff for DSHEA co-sponsor Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and was one of the lead staffers responsible for drafting and the passage of DSHEA.

DSC educational briefings are held throughout the year, featuring nationally recognized authors, lecturers or authorities on health and wellness, who provide tips and insights for better nutrition, including how dietary supplements can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. These briefings also help to educate congressional staff about constituent access to safe and beneficial dietary supplements and legislative and regulatory issues associated with these products. In addition, DSC members receive regular updates on any new and ongoing developments in the dietary supplement arena.

The DSC has enjoyed robust growth this year, reaching an all-time membership high with 32 members. Founded in 2006, the DSC provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information on dietary supplements—directing attention to the role of dietary supplements in health promotion and disease prevention.

1. “Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994”
2. Nutrition Business Journal

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the primary trade organization and voice of the herbal industry. Founded in 1982, AHPA is comprised of domestic and global companies that grow, process, manufacture and market herbs and herbal products. AHPA serves its members by promoting the responsible commerce of products that contain herbs, including conventional foods, dietary supplements, personal care and other goods. Website:
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 133-year-old-trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to promoting the increasingly vital role of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in America’s healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy. Visit and
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers.  In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit 
The Natural Products Association (NPA) is the trade association representing the entire natural products industry. We advocate for our members who supply, manufacture and sell natural ingredients or products for consumers. NPA has set numerous industry standards, such as dietary supplement Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), as well as a definition of natural for home care and personal care products. NPA, which represents nearly 2,000 members accounting for more than 10,000 locations of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids, has led the charge to keep the natural products industry in business for 78 years. Visit
The United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) is an association representing many leading natural products, dietary supplement, functional food and analytical and technology companies that share a commitment to provide consumers with natural health products of superior quality, benefit and reliability. Founded in Utah in 1991, UNPA was instrumental in the passage of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and continues to take a leadership position in regulatory issues and industry best practices. Visit