Citing problems with the marketing and labeling of energy drinks and brownies, Senator Dick
Durbin has introduced S.1310, the “Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011.” I am writing you to tell you
that this bill is unnecessary, fixes no problems whatsoever, and is a job-killer. I am whole-heartedly
opposed to this bill.
Senator Durbin is hyping this bill to you and colleagues as one to “protect consumers” of dietary
supplements by increasing FDA regulations on supplements because of a supposed gray line between
conventional foods and dietary supplements. Yet, for ten years the FDA has been at fault. It has blindly
refused to clarify what it considers to be conventional-food dietary ingredients (triggering different
ingredient safety requirements) and what it considers to be dietary-supplement ingredients (regulated
under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994). DSHEA mandates that dietarysupplement ingredients be regulated under a different set of standards and requirements than those
covering conventional foods and prescription and OTC drug products.
Amazingly, S.1310 has only one clause in it that is even directly related to the conventional-food
and dietary-supplement ingredient issue (requiring the HHS Secretary to establish a definition of
“conventional foods”). Clearly, Senator Durbin is using this bill as his vehicle for other purposes, mainly to
strangle the supplement industry and dry up supply to consumers. In fact, even that one provision is
unnecessary since DSHEA already defines a dietary supplement as a product with a “dietary ingredient”
intended to supplement the diet and mandates that a supplement cannot be legally marketed or labeled
as a sole-source food product. So, obviously, S.1310’s real purpose is to establish expensive, drug-like
FDA approval requirements for proving the safety of supplements. This threatens the supplement
industry and the jobs that go with it.
Yet dietary supplements are already among the safest consumer products around. In recent
years, the Centers for Disease Control have reported zero deaths from consumption of dietary
supplements and during the last 25 years, more deaths have been reported from bee stings, lightning
strikes, or horse-riding accidents than from supplements. This compares extremely favorably to FDAapproved drugs, licensed hospitals, and licensed medical doctors that account for hundreds of thousands
of deaths a year! Clearly, there is no need for this legislation.
Further, dietary-supplement manufacturers and supplement consumers should not be penalized
simply because a few conventional food manufacturers exploiting an FDA regulatory snafu caused by the
Agency’s ineptitude in not having or enforcing a policy for products marketed and labeled as dietary
supplements when they are in fact conventional foods. Under existing Federal law, supplements are not
conventional foods and they are not drugs. Energy drinks and brownies are not supplements.
Senator Durbin is engaging in yet another bait-and-switch on the intent of S.1310 and what it
really proposes. This is not the first time this Senator has attempted to impose his own personal agenda
for public-policy purposes – the repeal of the DSHEA law. Millions of other supplement consumers and I
are aware of the Senator’s agenda with S.1310. Please do not support this misguided legislation.
Before I was placed on the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry in June
2009, I would have to visit a doctors office several times a month,
sometimes several times a week, sometimes with several appointments
booked the same day with specialists and tests, painful and difficult
physical therapy that seemed to harm more than hurt, etc., and there
were to many trips to the emergency room to count.
I went to the ER out of sheer desperation, I went just so I could get
comfortable enough to have a bit of sleep after a week or more of
lingering in a painful place that seemed to be located in deep within
the realm of a narcotic distorted pain haze, a no-where-land that
seemed to be somewhere between life and death. The doctors in the
emergency room and elsewhere often treated me as though I was an
addict, and not a pain patient, AND I WAS MISERABLE!
Since I was approved for the medical marijuana registry I haven’t
needed near the amount of services from the medicaid/medicare program.
In fact, I’ve had to see a doctor twice since June 3, 2009 when the
doctor signed my forms.
Once to have 14 teeth pulled, a little bit of dental work made
necessary by a combination of years of no dental benefits unless my
teeth couldn’t be saved and needed to be pulled, being on narcotics
for almost a decade, and dealing with severe
The other doctor visit (and medications that followed) were for a bad
cold that I caught at the dentists office. I haven’t seen a doctor at
all otherwise, although I do call my family doctor to check in and let
her know I am doing well.
Before I was on the MMJ registry, I was on so many medications (20
plus medications taken at various intervals though the day) that I
felt like I was taking a pill every 2 minutes…. Number of
traditional prescriptions I take daily now – ZERO.
Now the government was paying for all those medications I was on
before through medicare/medicaid, plus all the doctor visits to get,
maintain, and change dosing on those prescriptions right? Some of
those medications by themselves cost the government thousands of
dollars a month! Many could not have refills on them by law and
required a doctor visit every time I needed more.
I always felt guilty about my personal burden on the American
Taxpayers. But now I don’t have to feel guilty cause I have given a
present to the American Taxpayer. I got on the MMJ registry. Now I do
not go to the mainstream doctor unless I need antibiotics. I am off
This herb is profoundly changing lives! It is healing people, body,
mind, and soul. Yet its legal users get treated as if they are using
it for recreation. I believe recreational use is a VALID use of the
plant, further I feel it be legalized and would be an important source
of revenue for America if it were to be legal once again. However,
that is not why I personally NEED this plant.
This plant allows me to eat, to sleep, to get out of my bed, to manage
my pain enough to have a job, to be involved with life instead of
living in a nightmare world just praying for the end to come soon. If
you happen to be a Fibromyalgia patient praying for the end, you can
be praying for a long time as this is not a terminal disease.
sources on Fibromyalgia suspect that this disease has been
around for all time, a genetic disease with a trigger, and its
symptoms are found even in individuals of remote tribes of Africa and
the Amazon who have no contact with the west. So why should I use new
untested man-made medicine created by people who don’t understand my
disease and possibly believe it doesn’t exist? Especially when that
disease has been treated with herbs known to posses pain relieving
qualities for many generations of humans?
Now you want to change all the natural suppliments that I use along with my medicinal cannabis and make my life even more difficult. Senator Bennet, I wite you often won’t you please give me more than an auto response?
Breedheen O’Rilley Keefer AKA Breezy Kiefair