CRN’s Virtual ‘Supplement Advocacy Send-In’ Sets the Bar for Effective Advocacy During Pandemic

Washington, D.C., August 5, 2020—The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, this year shifted the association’s annual Day on the Hill federal advocacy event to an online drive in light of COVID-19. The inaugural “Supplement Advocacy Send-In” encouraged CRN member companies to contact their congressional representatives about key industry issues, engaging with policymakers from a safe social distance.

“Advocating for our members and the entire dietary supplement industry continues to be a top priority for CRN regardless of whether or not we can meet with representatives on Capitol Hill,” said Julia Gustafson, vice president, government relations, CRN. “The issues most important to the industry—including the need for CBD to be regulated as a dietary supplement—have not gone away since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The success of the Send-In speaks to the dedication of our members to addressing these challenges and enhancing the dietary supplement marketplace.”

Following up on the one-year anniversary of FDA’s public hearing on Scientific Data and Information about Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-Derived Compounds and CRN's submission of a Citizen Petition calling on the agency to use its statutory discretion to permit CBD be sold in dietary supplements, CRN activated member companies with operations all over the country to contact their congressional representative on the issue. Over the course of six weeks, CRN members sent 127 letters to 100 representatives from 30 states requesting they echo the association’s call to action and urge FDA to establish a legal pathway for CBD to be regulated as a dietary supplement ingredient.

“We were able to come together and raise our collective virtual voices to advocate for real change during a time that requires us be apart,” said Gustafson. “Communication between industry stakeholders and government officials is more important now than ever. If FDA fails to act on CBD, consumer interest will continue to grow along with a thriving but plainly unlawful array of CBD products.”