The Natural Products Association is concerned that legislation recently introduced to the Senate that would establish a mandatory product listing, may undermine homeland security.
The Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, D.C.) is concerned that legislation recently introduced to the Senate that would establish a mandatory product listing, may undermine homeland security. In a letter addressed to Merrick Garland, attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of Homeland Security at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Xavier Becerra, secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Daniel Fabricant, president and CEO of NPA, expressed concerns about how the publically accessible information collected by the mandatory product listing would enable acts of bioterrorism. Fabricant cites a law passed in the wake of 9-11 that shielded information about domestic and foreign facilities that are required to register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“In the wake of attacks on our homeland, Congress in 2002 passed the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act, Pub.L. 107-188 (‘Bioterrorism Act’). Section 305 of the Bioterrorism Act requires domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold dietary supplement and other foods for consumption in the United States to register with [FDA],” writes Fabricant. “[Section 305] gave FDA important information it would need to respond quickly to a threatened or actual bioterrorist attack on the food supply…However, to shield this information from individuals or groups with malicious intent, the Bioterrorism Act required FDA to ‘maintain and up-to-date list of facilities’ but prohibited disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of the ‘list and any registration documents submitted pursuant’ to the law.”
NPA is worried the Dietary Supplement Listing Act of 2022 may undermine these protections. The information required by the bill includes: proprietary name of the dietary supplement, full business name and address of all locations, a copy of the label for dietary supplements and package insert, list of all ingredients, as well as dosage format.
“This is precisely the type of information that bioterrorists would need to introduce contaminants or poisons into the food supply, and it would all be available to them in a publicly accessible database maintained by the federal government at taxpayer expense,” says Fabricant.