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DALLAS, June 2 /PRNewswire/ --

June 2, 1999

'Dietitians Suppress Diversity in Texas,' Says NNFA-SW President

"Freedom of choice and diversity of nutritional information hang by a thread in Texas," according to Judie Boothe, President of National Nutritional Foods Association - Southwest Region (NNFA-SW), a trade association for the health and natural foods industry.

Senate Bill 1525 passed in the Texas Legislature over the weekend. Senators and Representatives eager to finish the 76th Session coped with an avalanche of bills in the closing days. A few good bills died, but one very alarming bill survived. Because of last minute amendments the final version of SB1525 has a substantially different impact than the one studied by the legislators, according to Ms. Boothe, who also added that no hearings were held on the drastically altered form so no opposition could be expressed. Despite the efforts of those who rallied to overturn the bill, it was passed Sunday and is on the way to Governor George W. Bush for his signature.

"This is one of the shadiest legislative tricks I've seen pulled in Austin," stated Martie Whittekin, president of Texans for Health Freedom, a group dedicated to securing and maintaining health options for Texans. She encouraged all Texans to contact Gov. Bush to express their outrage and ask him to veto the bill.

Both Ms. Boothe and Ms. Whittekin agree that the effect of this bill will be to stifle nutritional information in Texas. Ms. Boothe explained that it will limit who can provide nutritional counseling in a one-on-one setting, regardless of education and skill. Highly qualified nutritionists will not be able to give nutritional counseling for compensation. Only dietitians, and a few select health professionals, will be able to do that. It remains to be seen what the effect will be on health food retailers because the House Legislative Intent language is incomplete.

"Probably the most chilling effect of this bill is the way it will squash diversity in nutrition research and intellectual debate in Texas," said Ms. Boothe.

NNFA-SW represents health food retailers, manufacturers and health professionals in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas and is based in Dallas.

For more information, contact Neva Lindell, NNFA-SW Executive Director at