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Harkin Marks 20th Anniversary of Bill to Protect Consumers, Clarify Regulation for the Dietary Supplement Industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement marking the 20th anniversary of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) this week. The law, championed by Harkin and Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT), aimed to help the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protect consumers from unsafe dietary supplements and boost FDA’s accountability. 

“As more Americans take charge of their health, it is critical that we provide them access to safe, properly labeled dietary supplements as part of a healthy lifestyle,” Harkin said. “Twenty years after enactment of the DSHEA, it remains a critically important law. More than 150 million Americans regularly take dietary supplements. This law allows the FDA to protect public health against harmful or fraudulent products while ensuring that these consumers can continue to access the vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements that play an important role in preventative health. Senator Hatch has been a strong partner in this effort and I urge my colleagues to continue the work on this important front to help protect consumers and keep all Americans healthy.”

As Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Harkin has been a leading voice in the push for policies that will keep Americans healthy and safe through strong consumer protections and access to healthy food and nutrition.

In 1994, Harkin joined Hatch in pushing for the passage of DSHEA, which revolutionized the way that supplements are regulated and sold in the United States.  DSHEA guarantees that the American people can use beneficial supplements to their diets to promote improved health and well-being. The law also takes important steps to assure that consumers receive true and non-misleading information about these products by granting FDA the authority to regulate product labeling for dietary supplements.  Additionally, the law required the FDA to establish and hold supplement manufacturers to “Good Manufacturing Practices,” which further ensures quality and safety for consumers.