Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Timeline of the Natural Products Industry

By James J. Gormley
Ever wonder how we got here? Well, NOW Foods asked me to draft a timeline of the natural products industry---which I am happy to share with the natural products/health-food industry and consumers, The Gormley Files readers and NOW Foods Health E-News subscribers. Please let me know what major milestones are missing (or edits are needed) and I will be happy to include in updated versions of this document.

samuel thomson 1790s
Thomsonianism (a form of herbalism) is developed by Samuel Thomson, a New Hampshire farmer.

Early OTC (over the counter) drug forerunners, patent medicines, are in their heyday in the U.S. with mercury-laced concoctions, such as Swaim’s Panacea.
swaim's panacea

Homeopathy is established in the U.S.

In the late 1820s, Eclecticism (similar to naturopathy) is started by New Yorker Wooster Beach.
Father Sebastian Kneipp’s “water cure” and herbal remedies become popular in the U.S.

Florence Nightingale writes: “Nature alone cures […] What nursing has to do is put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him.”

Mary Baker Eddy, the foundress of Christian Science, is greatly influenced by the “magnetic healing” (or Mesmerism) of Austrian physician Franz Mesmer.

Osteopathy (originally a system of musculoskeletal manipulation) is begun by Andrew Taylor Still; his osteopathic school is opened in 1892, today called A.T. Still University (ATSU).

The nutritional integrity of  the American food supply is  devastated as millers begin using “sophisticated refining machinery [that] remove the germ and many vitamins and minerals from wheat and other whole grains and produce glistening, nutritionally inadequate white flour,” according to Frank Murray in More Than One Slingshot (1984).

Iowan Daniel David Palmer discovers and describes chiropractic manipulation, the year the first chiropractic school opened.

1_Dr__Benedict_Lust_300X470 1896
After 1896, Benedict Lust, founds American naturopathy in the U.S., initially to popularize Fr. Kneipp’s hydropathy, which had faded after the Civil War. Lust blends manipulation procedures with hydropathic treatments, herbal remedies and other natural approaches.

The country’s first health-food stores emerge.

Twenty percent of all doctors are alternative physicians: there are 10,000 homeopaths, 5,000 Eclectics, 5,000 other holistic physicians and 100,000 allopaths.

flexner2 1910-1930
The American Medical Association (AMA) and a lobby of early “modern” pharmacies are embarrassed by the Flexner Report of 1910 (which made disease-focused, or allopathic, medicine look bad) and work together to mainly run natural medicine “out of town,” focusing especially on Eclectic, naturopathic and homeopathic medical schools. By 1930, aside from osteopathic and chiropractic schools, alternative medicine has been dealt a severe blow.

By 1936, Chicago baker, Anthony Berhalter, organizes a group of retailers and suppliers to meet in Chicago to form the American Health Foods Association (AHFA).

postcard-chicago-auditorium-hotel-louis-sullivan-building-i-will-series-nice-1911 1937
Chicago’s 1937 convention is held at the old Auditorium Hotel and consisted of 15 booths, and includes: Tam Products (today called American Health); Elam Mills; Battle Creek Scientific Foods; H.W. Walker Inc.; and Modern Diet Products.

The first industry trade magazine, Health Foods Retailing, begins publication.

The AHFA is re-named the National Health Foods Association (NHFA), whose first officers included such industry leaders as Paul Bragg and Lelord Kordell. The newly re-named association’s first convention is held at Chicago’s Sherman Hotel and attracts more than 1,000 consumers and industry members.

The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act is enacted, mainly in response to deaths from the drug, Elixir Sulfanilamide.

BN 19950001 Better Nutrition magazine is first published by the same company that began Health Foods Retailing.

Congress passes the Food Drug and Cosmetic (FDC) Act, which is the first regulation to establish labeling requirements and daily minimum levels for several vitamins and minerals.

The NHFA becomes the National Dietary Foods Association (NDFA).

The NDFA holds its convention at Chicago’s Hotel Continental.

The NDFA’s annual convention is held at Detroit’s Hotel Book-Cadillac and showcases nearly 100 exhibitors and over 300 attendees.

At a pharmacists’ convention in Philadelphia, attendees vote to push for legislation making all vitamins, minerals and food supplements available only in drug stores, a move fought against vigorously by the health-food movement.

The natural products industry forms the Public Relations, Education, Legal, Legislation and Lobbying program (PELL) to counter attacks against the health-food industry in the media and in legislation.

Adelle Davis, a nutritional pioneer who would author several influential books on nutrition, addresses the industry for the first time.

It is reported that a Minnesota law requiring vitamins to be sold in pharmacies has been overturned; vitamins can now be sold in any food store in that state.
Regional health food associations have grown by now, including: Northern California Nutritional Foods Retailers Association, the Southern California Nutritional Association and the Northwest Dietary Foods Association, which convene together to hold the West Coast Dietary Foods Fair in Portland, Oregon.

The Food Additives Amendment to the FDC is passed. It includes restrictive provisions, such as prohibiting the use of several minerals in supplement preparations.

In December, government agents enter the warehouses of the Balanced Foods Company in New York City and seize many copies of Folk Medicine and Arthritis and Folk Medicine, two popular books by the late doctor, D.C. Jarvis. The agents also seize bottles of vinegar and honey, since they were referred to in Jarvis’ books. The FDA brought suit against Balanced Foods in Federal District Court in New York City on the grounds that the vinegar and honey products constituted “misbranded drugs”! Milton Bass won this case … for consumers and the industry.

Dr. Carlton Fredericks’ Eat, Live and Be Merry is published.

During a 1961 FDA inspection of American Health (then American Dietaids), a hidden tape recorder carried by an inspector malfunctions, revealing its presence to company officials.

This practice continued, however, and would later be acknowledged in sworn testimony at a Senate subcommittee hearing on Administrative Practice and Procedure in 1965.

At its annual convention, the NDFA warns its members of the threat posed by proposed FDA regulations that would severely harm the health-food industry. The law firm of Bass and Friend, headed by industry advocate Milton Bass, is hired to represent the NDFA and the industry.

Niacin Therapy in Psychiatry by Dr. Abram Hoffer is published.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, a book credited with singlehandedly launching the environmental movement, is published.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is officially created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to “develop food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practice.” The main purposes of this commission are said to be: “protecting health of the consumers,” “ensuring fair trade practices in the food trade” and “promoting coordination of all food standards.”

Dr. Carlton Fredericks’ Low-Carbohydrate Diet is published.

On June 18th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announces that it is going to ban nutrient potencies above 100% of the RDAs by classifying the over-100% products as drugs. The FDA also announces labeling restrictions that would have forbidden the inclusion of any useful information on dietary supplements.

The proposed regulations are called “The Vitamin Volstead Act” by the health-food industry since they would have served as a 1966 version of Prohibition, in this case in reference to dietary supplements.

A massive industry and consumer battle begins in August, including a postcard campaign and a full-page ad in The Washington Post. American consumers, led by Congressman David King of Utah and the NDFA, ultimately beat it but it would keep resurfacing in various forms for the next 10 years.
J.I. Rodale’s The Complete Book of Vitamins is published.

The FDA publishes proposed regulations for labeling and content of dietary supplements, however public opposition forces further hearings that last until the early 1970s.

The NHFA merges with the American Dietary Retailers Association (NDRA) and is now called the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), which is announced at the 1970 show.

JimTurner2 1970
The Chemical Feast: Ralph Nader’s Study Group Report on the Food and Drug Administration by James Turner is published.

Seeds of Change, the Green Revolution and Development in the 1970s by Lester R. Brown is published.

Ruth Adams’ Say No! The New Pioneers Guide to Action to Save Our Environment is published.

proxmire 1972
Sen. William Proxmire, a long-time health advocate, delivers the keynote address at the NNFA’s convention in Washington, D.C.

Rodale’s Complete Book of Minerals for Health is published.

FDA publishes final regulations classifying any supplements with potencies above 150 percent of the RDAs as drugs.

Senator William Proxmire (D-Wis.) introduces S. 2801, called “The Food Supplement Amendment of 1973,” also called the Proxmire Amendment or the Vitamin Bill (which on the House side was H.R. 643, or the Hosmer Bill). This legislation is designed to prevent the FDA from classifying vitamins and minerals as drugs and to require the agency to regulate vitamins and minerals as foods or food supplements.

In support of H.R. 643, many experts and advocates give testimony, including: Dr. Annette Dickinson, Dr. Carlton Fredericks, Max Huberman, David King, Jim Turner, Esq., and Dr. Roger Williams.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) is founded.

Dr. William Crook’s Your Child and Allergy is published.

Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution is published.

hoffer 1974
Mega-Vitamin Therapy by Abram Hoffer, Frank Murray and Ruth Adams is published.

Supernutrition: Megavitamin Revolution by Dr. Richard Passwater is published.

S. 548 [co-sponsored by Senators William Proxmire and Richard Schweiker (R-Penn.)], The Food Supplement Amendment of 1975, and Congressman William Randall’s H.R. 11247, are introduced to combat H.R. 16317 (an anti-supplement version of the Hosmer Bill), a newer version of the previously defeated Vitamin Volstead Act that would re-classify vitamins with potencies higher than 150 percent of the RDAs as drugs.

On April 22, Pres. Gerald Ford signs the Heart and Lung Act, to which the Proxmire-Schweiker Vitamin Bill had been attached.

The NNFA---along with numerous champions, including Milton Bass, Max Huberman, Frank Murray and many others---fights against the devastating vitamin restrictions and ultimately wins. At the time, Max Huberman and Milton Bass write: “This landmark legislation is the greatest victory for the health food industry and consumer rights ever achieved.”

Orthomolecular Nutrition by Abram Hoffer and Morton Walker is published.

Pauling 1979
Cancer and Vitamin C by Drs. Ewan Cameron and Linus Pauling is published.

Crooks’ Tracking Down Hidden Food Allergy is published.

Dr. Atkins’ Nutrition Breakthrough is published.

Brown’s Building A Sustainable Society is published by the Worldwatch Institute.

Crook’s The Yeast Connection is published.

More Than One Slingshot0001 1984
More Than One Slingshot: How the Health Food Industry Is Changing America by Frank Murray is published by the    National Nutritional Foods Association.

Carlton Fredericks’ New Low Blood Sugar and You is published.

Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill by Udo Erasmus is introduced.

Hoffer’s Orthomolecular Medicine for Physicians is published.

President George H.W. Bush signs into law the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA), which is intended to improve nutritional information regarding health claims made for products. The FDA is given the responsibility of implementing the law but, because of broad wording, the agency takes advantage of the opportunity to over-regulate nutritional supplements.

Lieberman The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book by Dr. Shari Lieberman is published.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch and Dr. James Balch is published.

passwater Passwater’s The New Supernutrition is published.

Crook’s Help for the Hyperactive Child is published.

Brown’s Saving the Planet: How to Shape An Environmentally Stable Global Economy is published by the Worldwatch Institute.

Sen. Orin Hatch.Handout photo2004 1992
The Health Freedom Act (S. 2835) is introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), legislation to protect the rights of American consumers to choose safe and effective dietary supplements. The basic principle of the bill was that supplements are not food additives, they aren’t drugs and they need to be defined.

The FDA had been using the food additives provisions in the law to go after supplements it did not like. In fact, in the early 1990s the FDA went on an enforcement rampage.

WrightJonathan9x11 On May 6th, in what is today remembered as the Tahoma Clinic Raid, the FDA stormed Dr. Jonathan Wright’s clinic with armed sheriffs who terrorized patients and seized vitamins, equipment and medical records. Fear of similar abuse of power spread like wildfire across the U.S.

Joe Bassett and the northwest region of the NNFA expanded an early incarnation of Citizens for Health (CFH) in order to mobilize consumers and health-food stores against these threats.

Along with Bassett were Jim Golick, Margaret Isely, Bonnie Minsky, Dr. Joan Priestley, Alex Schauss, Craig Winters and others.

Meanwhile, industry champions such as Loren Israelsen, Milton Bass, Scott Bass (son of Milton Bass), Hal Drexler (of Country Life), Jarrow Rogovin (of Jarrow Formulas) and many others, were devoting considerable resources to the battle for DSHEA up to (and past) the 11th hour.
mel gibson video A dramatic public-service ad (PSA) was developed by director, Charles Abehsera, and aired nationally in December. In the ad, federal agents equipped in full Special Forces gear, including night vision and weapons, converge on Mel Gibson, in this now-famous cameo, who says, in defense as he holds up a supplement bottle: “Hey. Guys. Guys. It’s only vitamins.”

Although the Democrats had a majority in the House and Senate, indicators were that the party was in danger of losing a number of seats in the 1994 election and the Democratic leadership was not eager to look like bad guys to the millions of Americans who supported the Hatch-Harkin-Richardson Bill (DSHEA), or S. 784.

harkin Over the course of several hours, Senators Hatch, Kennedy, Harkin, Waxman and Congressman Dingell were able to hammer out a compromise bill. Between August 13 and October, both the Senate and House versions of DSHEA passed. Passage of DSHEA creates a new framework for regulation of dietary supplements.

At the time, Sen. Orrin Hatch comments: “I want to cite the dedicated efforts of Citizens for Health, whose thousands of members have worked tirelessly and unselfishly to make this an informed and successful debate. There is no question in my mind that the work of this citizen army makes today’s victory possible.”

Tales of A Shaman’s Apprentice by Dr. Mark J. Plotkin is published.

Crook's The Yeast Connection and the Woman is published.

The White House Commission on Dietary Supplement Labels issues its report on future regulation of this product category.

Hoffer’s Laws of Natural Nutrition is published.

The USDA proposes its first version of Organic standards late this year. The CCOF, the Organic Trade Association and Citizens for Health are able to stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from debasing the definition of “organic.” Over a period of several months (into early 1998), nearly 300,000 communications were directed to the USDA protesting the proposal. The Secretary of Agriculture says, at the time, that this was the largest number of comments the Department has ever received on any proposed regulation. The FDA publishes industry regulations for structure/function claims that appear on supplement packaging and marketing materials.

Congress includes in the Food and Drug Modernization Act a provision allowing dietary supplements to make health claims.

Food Pets Die For (an exposé of the pet foods industry) is published by Ann N. Martin.

A second edition of Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Dr. James Balch and Phyllis Balch is introduced. 

FDA inspectors arrive at the offices of a Texas-based stevia company to "witness destruction" of "offending" cookbooks featuring stevia, and other literature. A video camera taping the aborted destruction, and the intercession of Julian Whitaker, M.D. and Jim Turner prevented the book burning.

The landmark case, Pearson v. Shalala (see related decision in 2001), was won, which finally forced the FDA to allow qualified health claims.

In March 1999, consumer and industry advocates successfully testify on Capitol Hill to oppose the FDA’s proposal to redefine disease to include life stages and normal discomforts, such as pregnancy, aging, menopause and headache.

FDA regulations require that a Supplement Facts panel appear on dietary supplement labels.

The NNFA rolls out a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) program.

DrDuke The Green Pharmacy by Dr. James Duke is published.

Dr. Duke’s Essential Herbs is published.

Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution is published.

Healing Cancer: Complementary Vitamin and Drug Treatments by Drs. Abram Hoffer and Linus Pauling is published.

Despite a worldwide consumer backlash, Codex’ Draft Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements are ratified and the European Food Supplements Directive (EFSD) is put in place.

Largely thanks to several thousand letters sent to legislators through a consumer-industry coalition supporting its passage, the “AER bill” (The Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act”) clears through the U.S. House of Representatives at 3:06 am on December 9th, 2006.

The FDA’s issues guidance on complementary and alternative medicine that could open the door to re-classifying common herbs and fruit/vegetable juices as “drugs” depending on their intended use. This is successfully opposed by Citizens for Health and many other advocacy organizations.

In June, a three-year roll-out of the Federal cGMPs (current GMPs) for dietary supplements begins.

On April 17th, the FDA receives a Citizen Petition from a pharmaceutical company demanding that all weight-loss support claims be re-classified as disease claims, which was strongly condemned by consumers and natural products industry organizations.
tyranny Emord’s The Rise of Tyranny: How Federal Agencies Abuse Power and Pose Risks to Your Life and Liberty is published.

In March, S. 510, the Food Safety Bill, is introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.). Many consumer advocates and industry experts point out that S. 510 (which would cost Americans $825 billion in 2010 alone) and the House of Representatives version of this bill, H.R. 2749, which passed under suspended rules, do not address the root causes of the U.S.'s food safety problems and would hurt small growers and retailers.

S. 3002, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010, is introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Drafted to mainly address problems relating to athletes’ use of products spiked with drugs and illegal substances, the bill would do nothing to protect athletes or sports and would hurt health-food retailers, legitimate supplement makers and the American public without solving any problems.

After a massive grassroots letter-writing campaign led by Citizens for Health, the Alliance for Natural Health, and the Natural Products Association, on March 4th, Sen. Hatch submits a letter to Sen. McCain thanking him for withdrawing his support for parts of S. 3002.
On March 9th, Senators McCain and Dorgan submit a letter to Senators Harkin, Enzi and Hatch pledging to work with them in incorporating common-ground provisions into S. 510 (the Food Safety bill).

Dietary supplement cGMPs are now in place.

Brown’s World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse is published.
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