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Health Food Stores Support Nationwide Blackout Day

5 July 2002

Health Food Stores Support Nationwide Blackout Day: Monday 8th July

Health food stores across the country will “black out” products endangered by the Government’s proposal for draconian rules on dietary supplements.

On Monday 8th July health food retailers from Kerikeri to Invercargill will decorate their stores in black and cover supplement sections with black drapes to demonstrate the disastrous effects of the proposed Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods Agency.

A total of 150 stores will be participating – three out of every four health food stores in New Zealand.

The new agency would have sweeping powers to make rules and restrict access to vitamins, minerals, herbal and homeopathic remedies, and other nutritional supplements.

Health store retailers are concerned that unnecessary restrictions and red tape will drive up supplement prices and force many products off the market - reducing product lines and thus limiting their customers’ choices.

Australians would dominate the Agency – three of the five Board members will be Australian residents, the Board will be established under Australian laws, and the Australian Minister of Health has final sign-off on all appointments.

Australian regulations on dietary supplements are considered some of the most restrictive in the world.

The national lobby group Citizens for Health Choices is organizing Blackout Day to raise public awareness about the dangers of the proposed agency.

More than 30,000 consumers have already signed a petition that was tabled by the Green Party in Parliament on June 13th opposing the proposed “joint agency”.

The major opposition political parties - ACT, Greens, National and New Zealand First – have all announced policies compatible with CFHC’s position.

Joint Co-coordinator Gary Mabey says “This proposal will increase costs and decrease choice of supplements for New Zealand consumers, with no improvement in consumer safety.”

“Dozens of New Zealand supplement businesses are threatened - manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers will all face cost increases, and that could mean hundreds of their employees’ jobs are at risk too. The industry could be facing multi-million dollar losses as a result of this regime.”

The Government released a discussion document last month on the proposal for a Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods Agency to regulate medicines, medical devices, and dietary supplements. Public submissions on the document are due by August 2nd.

ENDS

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