Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

My deepest thanks and very best wishes to all my colleagues in the natural products industry!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Health at Gunpoint: The FDA's Silent War Against Health-Freedom

By James J. Gormley
What forces and interests direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and why is this out-of-control law enforcement agency working so hard to take dietary supplements out of our hands?

These are the central questions explored in Health at Gunpoint: The FDA's Silent War Against Health Freedom, what I hope you will consider to be a groundbreaking book that brings into clear focus the silent war now being waged by the FDA against all of us: American consumers.

The FDA was established in 1906 to protect the U.S. public from misbranded and adulterated foods, drinks and drugs. While the original intent may have been honorable, over the years the execution of this mission has become tainted by lobbyists and money.

In Health at Gunpoint, I present a history of both the natural foods movement and of this over-reaching Federal agency and examine how the agency has changed over the years. I then look at the FDA's most controversial decisions and the troubling reasons behind them.

Why did the FDA try to shut down the supplements industry by getting most supplements classified as drugs? Why did the FDA drag its feet on folic acid fortification while thousands of babies were born with devastating birth defects? Why did the FDA try to get life stages (such as pregancy and aging) and normal discomforts (such as headaches) classified as diseases? Why are irradiated and genetically-altered food not labeled as such? Why does the FDA favor synthetic additives and dangerous drugs over natural ingredients and dietary supplements? Why did the FDA propose a guidance that would cripple the health food industry as we know it today?

Today, as in the past, the FDA is poised to make decisions that would have a major impact on the health of all Americans. Health at Gunpoint not only sheds light on what is happening, but also explains what you can do about it.

In many European countries, nutritional supplements are now available by prescription only. If you don’t think harmonization-friendly, anti-consumer, restrictions can be put in place here, you may be in for a rude awakening.

Health at Gunpoint will help prepare you for the coming fight.

Self-affirmed GRAS under fire again as PEW highlights ‘loophole that appears to have swallowed th...

Self-affirmed GRAS under fire again as PEW highlights ‘loophole that appears to have swallowed th...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Food supplements are safest foodstuffs: Report

By Shane Starling

Food supplements and herbal products are the safest bodily inputs with the risk of death of using them less than 1 in 10 million, about as likely as being struck and killed by lightning, according to a report from the Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Children Are Not Little Adults

By James J. Gormley
Courtesy of the SupplySide Community

One of my back-to-school memories in the late-1960s and early 1970s was going to the five-and-dime with my mother and choosing brand-new marble “composition pads” and #2 pencils. 
A 1970s-era ad ... the thinking has changed since then.
Although I preferred Jules Verne to geometry --- and really “digged” my summer vacations --- I was still psyched at the beginning of each new school year. I think it had something to do with the seemingly infinite possibilities for learning and success, fun and friendship. A clean slate (or blackboard).
Today, not every child has it as seemingly worry-free as that, unfortunately. In 2007, 5.4 million American children aged four to 17 were reported to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, of these, over half of that number were being medicated for this disorder. In addition to that, autism afflicts more than 2 million people, the incidence of which increased 172 percent in the 1990s.
Artificial additives are linked to ADHD and, in addition, one of many contributing factors to this developmental disability is believed to be mercury exposure, including the historical use of thimerosal in vaccines.
According to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in a 2005 Rolling Stone article, “The FDA continues to allow manufacturers to include thimerosal in scores of over-the-counter medications as well as steroids and injected collagen.” In 2012, thimerosal is still being used in vaccines.
Kennedy added: “If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children [with thimerosal], their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine.”
And as if things were not challenging enough for children without even considering exposure to toxins, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics noted that the percentage of overweight children aged six to 17 years between 1976-1980 and 2003-2004 has gone from 5.7 to nearly 17 percent; in addition, 2 million adolescents (or 1 in 6 overweight adolescents) aged 12 to 19 have pre-diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
There are, however, some indications of improvement in the lives of American kids. The percentage of children living in households classified as “food insecure” has gone down and educational attainment in high school is improving, noted the Forum.
One thing much better today for kids is the variety of dietary supplement options, from multivitamins to immune-boosters to omega-3s and more. Not only is the selection better in health-food stores but so is the manufacturers’ focus on including natural-source ingredients and excluding what I would have called “yucky” but my kids would probably call “nasty” artificial colors, flavors, binders, excipients and preservatives.
As customers visit retailers looking for healthy snacks, yogurt smoothies and kids’ vitamins, retailers can serve as an island refuge in a sometimes scary ocean of supermarkets and mass market behemoths.
Armed with good information, high-quality products and trustworthy guidance, you can help your end-user customers genuinely help their children.
In the meantime, the kids can get back to perhaps avoiding geometry and reading Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, er … or would that be The Hunger Games?
Note: The title for this piece came from an ad I found (manufacturer name and ad copy cropped out) from July 23rd, 1978, subtitled: “Because Children Are Little Adults.” Of course, kids have different metabolisms and nutritional needs over and above the fact that they may be 25 to 50% less heavy than an adult, but this was the thinking in the late-1970s!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The FDA Goes Back To The Drawing Board On NDI Draft Guidance!

The FDA Goes Back To The Drawing Board On NDI Draft Guidance!

Over 30,000 of you – Citizen for Health supporters, all – responded to the call to urge the FDA to revise or scrap the supplement-killing New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) Draft Guidance after we launched our multi-pronged campaign in September 2011.

<Read more>

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Global Regulations: India | Nutritional Outlook

Global Regulations: India | Nutritional Outlook

By James J. Gormley

On April 12, the International Alliance for Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA; Brussels) commented in a press release that India’s recently-rolled-out regulations for its 2006 Food Standards and Safety Act (FSSA) “will boost foreign investment in the sector now that health supplements are clearly featured in the country’s food laws.”

Sunday, June 10, 2012

In Memoriam: Joe Bassett, Health-Freedom Legend

In Memoriam: Joe Bassett, Health-Freedom Legend

Joseph M. Bassett
Joseph M. Bassett, the co-owner of two Bassett’s Health Food stores and a long time leader in the natural products industry, died on June 6th; he was 79 years old. According to his obituary, Bassett died of complications of a bladder and kidney infection.

He was a U.S. Army veteran who served honorably during the Korean War. Bassett and his wife Patricia started Bassett’s Health Foods in 1969, bringing vitamins and supplements to the Toledo, Ohio area. The retail outlet also offered a range of private label products, with formulas developed by Bassett using his knowledge of nutrition. He was trained and licensed in nutritional and massage therapies.

He was also vigorously involved in supporting consumer access to dietary supplements, actively participating as a member of the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA, now the Natural Products Association, or NPA).

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hershey Will Offer Certified Chocolate Following Consumer-Driven Campaign

Company announces new commitment to buying Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa after hearing from over 100,000 consumers; takes first step to addressing child labor

WASHINGTON, D.C.///February 1, 2012/// The Hershey Company announced yesterday that it will make its first commitment to sourcing independently certified cocoa for its Bliss line by the end of 2012. The announcement was made days before International Labor Right Forum was scheduled to run a Super Bowl ad highlighting Hershey’s use of child labor and follows a multi-year campaign that generated over 100,000 letters to Hershey, including from 50,000 supporters on asking Hershey to improve its cocoa sourcing practices.

The “Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition, a group of responsible cocoa advocates led by Global Exchange, Green America, and International Labor Rights Forum, started the campaign after identifying Hershey as behind its competitors on addressing child labor, forced labor, and other abuses in the cocoa industry.

"We are heartened to see Hershey's taking this first step towards accountability in their supply chain and we will continue to dialogue with them about how to ensure they no longer depend on forced child labor," said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum. "The threat of a Super Bowl ad forced the announcement, but Hershey’s new moves are really the result of thousands of consumers, students, church congregations and community groups writing to them over the past two years.”

The Raise the Bar, Hershey Coalition has been increasing pressure on Hershey, including launching a petition on, creating “brand-jamming” photos and videos of Hershey products, blanketing the company’s Facebook wall in messages, organizing rallies at Hershey flagship stores, and delivering more than 100,000 letters from concerned consumers to Hershey’s corporate headquarters on Halloween.

“The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition is excited to see Hershey listening to consumer demand for ethically sourced cocoa,” said Elizabeth O’Connell, fair trade campaigns director for Green America, “but we also recognize there is much more work to be done to fight child labor and other abuses in the cocoa industry, and we will continue to encourage Hershey to develop ethical sourcing practices.”

“The growth and ultimate success of Raise the Bar, Hershey’s petition on is incredible,” said Director of Organizing Amanda Kloer. “Hershey responded to consumer pressure with a significant improvement in cocoa sourcing transparency. It has been empowering to watch this group of concerned organizations and individuals use’s tools to fight for changes at the Hershey Company.”  

In response to Hershey’s announcement, eighth grader Jasper Perry-Anderson has created a follow-up campaign on asking the Hershey Trust to ensure the Hershey Company expands its commitment to certified cocoa to all its products in the future.

Journalists interested in contacting Hershey’s public relations staff should try:

Andy McCormick, Vice President, Public Affairs

Kirk Saville, Spokesperson

The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition is led by the following organizations:
GREEN AMERICA is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems.

GLOBAL EXCHANGE is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world.

INTERNATIONAL LABOR RIGHTS FORUM is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide.

CHANGE.ORG is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 500,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country. For more information on, please visit: