CRN Reacts to Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill—Inclusion of Hemp Farming Act paves way for potential industry growth; absence of SNAP provision denies low-income Americans access to multivitamin

Washington, D.C., December 13, 2018—In response to the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the Farm Bill), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, issued the following statement:

Statement by Steve Mister, president & CEO, CRN: 

“CRN is both pleased and disappointed with this week’s passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes some provisions supported by the association and strikingly omits others that would have provided opportunities for better nutrition to low income Americans.

CRN applauds the inclusion of the Hemp Farming Act in the Farm Bill that removes hemp from the definition of marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and provides a framework for the lawful cultivation and marketing of hemp and its constituents, including cannabidiol (CBD). This provision removes one of the barriers to the lawful marketing of CBD in a range of dietary supplement, food, and personal care products and will allow for greater research and understanding of this substance as a legitimate agricultural commodity. 

The dietary supplement and functional food industry is now able to work with FDA to address the legal concerns it has raised with respect to CBD as a legitimate ingredient in food and dietary supplements. However, in anticipation of increased market interest in CBD, CRN reminds industry that the Farm Bill has no effect on FDA's position that CBD is excluded from use in food and dietary supplements, citing a definitional matter that prohibits ingredients from being marketed in food or supplements if they were previously studied in clinical trials for pharmaceutical purposes. CRN looks forward to engaging with FDA to address those concerns. 

CRN is also disappointed that the SNAP Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act was dropped from the conference version of the Farm Bill. An important step toward improving the nutrition status of low-income Americans, this provision would have allowed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to purchase a multivitamin-mineral dietary supplement with their program benefits. CRN is encouraged by the strong support this effort received within Congress and among industry stakeholders, despite ultimately being derailed by political concerns. We are saddened that low-income Americans will not be given access to this option to help improve nutrient gaps in their diet. CRN remains committed to expanding consumer access to multivitamins and will continue to support policies that ensure all Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status, have equal opportunity for good nutrition.”

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit Follow us on Twitter @crn_supplements and @wannabewell and on Facebook.