Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Data breach epidemic plaguing businesses, consumers
NCL launches new publication to monitor, analyze
In early October, new...
NCL Bulletin Volume 77 Number 2
Page 2 Page 3
A message from NCL’s executive director
Dear Readers,
In the coming year, we...
NCL Bulletin Volume 77 Number 2
Page 4 Page 5
Child Labor Coalition hosts Nepalese
anti-trafficking activist
Anecdotes she...
NCL Bulletin Volume 77 Number 2
Page 6 Page 7
Kelsey Becker (ND) (pictured
on page 7) and
Matthew Lamontagne (RI)
2015 Stu...
NCL Bulletin Volume 77 Number 2
Page 8 Page 9
NCL calls on DOT to address deceptive airline, hotel fees
Travelers are all ...
NCL Bulletin Volume 77 Number 2
Page 10 Page 11
When I started at NCL the FDA
was (and still is) finalizing rules for
the ...
1701 K Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington DC 20006
Telephone: 202-835-3323
Fax: 202-835-0747
Please visit us online at nclne...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5

National Consumers League Bulletin | Winter 2015


Published on

The Bulletin is a publication of the National Consumers League, the nation's pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

National Consumers League Bulletin | Winter 2015

  1. 1. Data breach epidemic plaguing businesses, consumers NCL launches new publication to monitor, analyze In early October, news broke: America’s Thrift Stores, a chain that pays out more than $4 million to its non-profit partners annually, had been hacked. Those who shopped during the month of September with a credit or debit card may have had their information compromised. The breach, along with the seemingly endless string of other breaches like it, are the reason why NCL’s #DataInsecurity Project is needed now more than ever. For more than a year, the Project has called on Congress and the Obama Administration to adopt comprehensive data security protections. In 2014, NCL published new research, hosted several events, and took the Project on the road to raise awareness about the need for critical reforms. This summer, NCL launched The #DataInsecurity Digest, a bi-weekly email newsletter written by NCL’s Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud John Breyault, who gathers the latest data breach news and provides analysis and commentary. Since its launch, the Digest has seen an unfortunately very active period in the world of breaches, with Hilton, Scottrade, and Trump Hotels attacks making headlines. A major breach at Experian compromised data on credit check partner T-Mobile, exposing records of 15 million customers.InAugust,theextramaritalaffair site was hacked, with subscriber data made public, underscoring the significant harm—not only financial— for consumers when sensitive data are leaked. “Unfortunately, many of the data security and breach notification bills proposed in Congress rely on financial harm to trigger notification,” wrote Breyault in a recent edition of the Digest. “The Ashley Madison leak, despite its questionable customer base, illustrates that these breaches pose serious threats beyond financial. Broader definitions of ‘harm’ should be included in any data security legislation that Congress considers.” On the legislative front this fall, NCL opposedtheCyberInformationSharingAct (CISA), a bill designed to make it easier for companiestosharecyberthreatinformation with law enforcement agencies. NCL joined with other consumer and privacy groups in oppposing CISA, fearing it would make it easier for intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency, to broaden surveillance of Americans’ online activities. A laudable goal but a flawed solution, advocates were disappointed when the bill passed the Senate. In October, Breyault briefed staffers at the U.S. Department of Energy as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, focusing on the link between breaches and identity fraud and offering tips for helping affected consumers reduce their risk. “After a data breach, businesses suffer from bad press, lost consumer confidence, and—frequently—legal liability. What is less publicized is the impact that data breaches have on the consumer victims who face identity fraud,” said Breyault. “Consumers suffer real consequences when data breaches occur.” To become a #DataInsecurity Digest subscriber, visit digest. BULLETINWinter 2015 | Volume 77 | Number 2 Letter from Sally Greenberg page 2 2015Trumpeter Awards page 3 Alcohol nutrition labeling milestone page 4 #KelleyOn10 page 5 LifeSmarts Nationals highlights page 6 Medication adherence conference page 8 Deceptive airline/hotel fees page 9 Extra virgin olive oil mislabeling page 10 Food safety rules page 11 Volume 77 | Number 2 | Winter 2015 InsideThis Issue with an updated interface, better user experience, and new features including resources for protecting personal data and coping with data breaches. Stay tuned for news on the upgraded site launch, and sign up to receive monthly Fraud Alerts at NCL Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud John Breyault with data security writer Brian Krebs at a #DataInsecurity Project event.
  2. 2. NCL Bulletin Volume 77 Number 2 Page 2 Page 3 A message from NCL’s executive director Dear Readers, In the coming year, we will be listening to presidential candidates and their ideas for addressing cybersecurity breaches that threaten consumers’ financial data and peace of mind. In October, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) joined organizations like NCL and other privacy advocates by opposing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, a well-intentioned but fatally flawed bill that would result in rapid, expansive sharing of data between corporations and government agencies without the safeguards necessary for protecting consumer privacy. Some candidates have made reckless statements about vaccines, making the long disproven and dangerous claim that vaccinating children causes autism; in the first Republican presidential debate, Donald Trump claimed to know a “perfectly healthy” child who went for his or her vaccinations and developed autism as a result. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—a doctor —asserted that parents should not be required to vaccinate their children in order to attend public school. How disconcerting to hear this coming from such high-profile public figures! 2015 was an exciting year for NCL! We hosted the 42nd Trumpeter Awards, our annual gala to celebrate consumer and worker advocates. We honored the Honorable Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for their outstanding careers. These awardees shared the stage with María Elena Durazo, International Union Vice President for Civil Rights, Diversity and Immigration with UNITE HERE!, who received the Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award, named for NCL’s first leader and a Progressive Era reformer. Check out our photo spread for highlights from the evening on page 3. As we prepare for the challenges that lie ahead, we are inspired by stories from people who are touched by our organization’s work. We love to hear from consumers who avoid scams after reading our monthly fraud alerts; from LifeSmarts alumni who attribute their career success in part to the knowledge gained through our program as teens; about progress in the fight against child labor in American fields; about our medication safety materials used in nursing homes and senior centers across the country. One emerging issue is protecting the monthly annuity, or structured settlement, of the disabled meant to take care of their living expenses—many of whom, for example, have suffered cognitive deficits due to lead poisoning from the paint in their homes. In 2016 and beyond, we will fight the unscrupulous players that persuade these citizens to sign away lifetime annuities in exchange for a small lump sum, often leaving them destitute and forced to live on public assistance. Please enjoy the articles in this issue of the NCL Bulletin. And stay connected with us via our website (, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn channels. With your help and support, we can continue our efforts to protect the interests of consumers and workers in 2016. Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2016! Sally Greenberg speaking on Capitol Hill at a press conference to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in June before U.S. Senators and House members and other advocacy groups. 2015Trumpeter Awards honors three remarkable women Klobuchar, Ramirez, Durazo celebrated for advocacy work NCL celebrated the 42nd annual Trumpeter Awards in October, gathering leaders from nonprofit organizations, industry, and government to honor outstanding leaders in consumer and worker advocacy and celebrate the year’s accomplishments. 1. The Honorable Edith Ramirez, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman, is presented the first of two 2015 Trumpeter Awards by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who himself received the award in 2008, honored for being Connecticut’s tough, pro-consumer Attorney General. With Ramirez at the helm, the FTC has filed more than 150 law enforcement actions and obtained millions of dollars in redress for hundreds of thousands of consumers. NCL recognized Ramirez’s commitment to consumer protection, particularly for low-income Americans. 2. (From left to right) Sally Greenberg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D- MN), and the Honorable Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner, pose after Clyburn, a 2013 Trumpeter recipient, presented the award to Klobuchar. The first female senator from Minnesota, Klobuchar was honored for making consumer product safety legislation a priority, keeping foreign toxic products off our shores and out of our stores, and pushing cell phone companies to enact more consumer-friendly policies. 3. Trumpeter attendees had the chance to learn about NCL’s flagship education and advocacy programs at exhibits featured in the pre-dinner reception. 4. This year’s Trumpeter event was among the most exciting—and best-attended—events in NCL history, with nearly 500 guests and an impressive lineup of speakers, including local TV consumer reporter Jennifer Donelan, who returned to serve as Master of Ceremonies. 5. María Elena Durazo, the 2015 Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award recipient, poses with NCL Board Member Pastor Herrera, Jr. Durazo, International Union Vice President for Civil Rights, Diversity and Immigration with UNITE HERE!, received the honor for her fierce advocacy on behalf of workers. 1 2 3 4 5 Sally Greenberg NCL Executive Director
  3. 3. NCL Bulletin Volume 77 Number 2 Page 4 Page 5 Child Labor Coalition hosts Nepalese anti-trafficking activist Anecdotes shed light on struggles to fight child trafficking in South Asia In October, the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), which NCL co-founded and coordinates, welcomed anti-trafficking activist Nanimaya Thapa to a meeting in Washington, DC. Thapa leads Gramin Mahila Srijansil Parivar (GMSP), an organization in the Sindhupalchok district of Nepal, whose mission is to put an end to slavery and trafficking. GMSP works with communities and local government to develop safe, trafficking-free zones. Staff create and distribute posters, organize an essay contest, broadcast radio appeals, and conduct other outreach to fight the epidemic. In April, Nepal suffered a powerful earthquake that damaged the GMSP office building (where many staff lived) and destroyed 90 percent of local homes. Many staff lost family members and loved ones. In the face of devastation and hopelessness, however,thededicatedGMSPstaffreturned to work just two days later. According to Thapa, the GMSP anticipated traffickers would pose as relief workers promising to bring children to temporary housing and classrooms. Parents would think their children were being taken to safety, when in fact they would be sold into domestic servitude. The GMSP formed a counter-attack, training its frontline relief workers and sending them to villages to distribute materials and warn them of the risks. When the GMSP staff discovered that six children were newly missing, they worked with the community and local police to find and rescue the children, who were, in fact, found in domestic child slavery and reintegrated into society. “We learn from the people,” Thapa said. “We need to protect the people, especially the children. The children are the most vulnerable.” First alcohol beverage‘Serving Facts’label introduced NCL cheers progress in nutrition labeling For decades, NCL, Consumer Federation of America, and Shape Up America! have advocated for a Serving Facts label on alcoholic beverages. With spirits-maker Diageo’s announcement this fall that its Crown Royal whiskey will start to carry such a label, advocates are welcoming the move and asking other industry players to do the same. “We have waited a long time for this day,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Now is the time for all manufacturers of beer, wine, and spirits to follow suit and start providing consumers with the information they need to help them to drink responsibly.” In 2003, more than 70 organizations petitioned for such labeling on alcohol products, calling for labeling on alcohol content per serving and number of servings per container, as well as nutritional data. Ultimately the federal government allowed—but did not require—Serving Facts labels for the beverages. “For the sake of good health, for weight management, and for the sake of safe driving, consumers need this information to make the responsible choice the easy choice,” said Shape Up America! President and CEO Dr. Barbara Moore. In other alcohol-related advocacy news, in 2015 NCL partnered with the American Medical Women’s Association to update a popular brochure aimed at female college students on the dangers of binge drinking. For copies of “Think Before You Drink,” contact NCL’s Publications Manager Theresa Smith at CLC Coordinator Reid Maki with leader of GMSP Nanimaya Thapa at the Free the Slaves office. #KelleyOn10 NCL campaigns to put Florence Kelley on the new $10 bill This summer, the Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announced that the newly re- designed $10 bill, slated for 2020, will feature the face of a woman to honor the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Lew said he will choose a woman who “has played a major role in our history who represents the theme of democracy.” NCL’s vote is for Florence Kelley, one of the organization’s earliest leaders and a champion for equal rights and consumer protections who fought her whole life for democracy. Though she is not as well known as some others, these ten points below say it all: Influence Justice Felix Frankfurter said about Florence Kelley: she “had probably the largest single share in shaping the social history of the United States during the first 30 years of the 20th Century.” Workers’rights The daughter of William D. Kelley, a co- founder of the Republican Party in 1859 and a U.S. Congressman from Philadelphia, 1860-1890, she was a charismatic speaker who convinced her contemporaries that women and children needed labor protections at a time when unions would not represent them. Pioneer After graduating from Cornell University in 1882, and obtaining a law degree from Northwestern University in 1893, she co- founded NCL in 1898 and led the League until her death in 1932. Progressive leadership She fostered the creation of 64 local consumers’ leagues across the country and promoted a social justice agenda that was adopted by the women’s suffrage movement and other progressive movements nationwide. Ending child labor From 1898 to 1932, she was the leading American champion of eradicating child labor. 40-hour work week Kelley promoted the enactment of state wage and hours laws for women, which created the foundation for the 40-hour week and minimum wage law incorporated within the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 1938. Universal health care She led the campaign for enactment of the first federal health care bill, the Welfare and Hygiene of Maternity and Infancy Act, more commonly known as the Sheppard- Towner Act of 1921. NAACP leadership In 1909 she helped organize the NAACP and served on the association’s board for two decades. In a 1926 letter, she wrote: “I think there should be a written pledge from every hotel that there will be no race discrimination. Certainly I should not dream of staying in any hotel which refused to my fellow members either bed or board.” Women’s suffrage Kelley was a prominent leader in the battle for women’s suffrage, served as Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1902, and in 1920 co-founded the League of Women Voters. Consumer safety She advocated for the Pure Food and Drugs Act and Meat Inspection Act of 1906, pioneering consumer protection laws that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. Working on the development of the #KelleyOn10 campaign was one of my favorite projects from my first few months at NCL. Tying NCL’s accomplishments with our mission today and sharing it via social media was fun and gave me a chance to really dive in. I learned so much about the progressive era in the US and Kelley’s work to shape the organization—and American history—and enjoyed advocating for Kelley to appear on the new $10 bill. My role at NCL is to work closely alongside our Vice President of Communications, Carol McKay, write and edit materials such as press releases, newsletters, our web and print publications, and staff blog posts. A big part of the communications department’s job is to support program staff with whatever they need. I’m also responsible for managing and monitoring our multiple social media channels and responding to media inquires. NCL’s unique reach into multiple fields such as data security, consumer protection, workers’ rights, child labor, and more inspired me to be a part of it. Organizations such as NCL do so much work behind the scenes to make sure products on the market are safe and companies are held accountable. It is remarkable to get to see that work first-hand. Joined NCL staff: May 2015 Hometown: Herndon, VA Meet NCL’s new Communications Associate Cindy Hoang
  4. 4. NCL Bulletin Volume 77 Number 2 Page 6 Page 7 Kelsey Becker (ND) (pictured on page 7) and Matthew Lamontagne (RI) 2015 Students of the Year Bill Wilcox and Joan Kinney Wisconsin Co-Coordinators of the Year Jennifer Bearchell Arizona Coach of the Year Did you know... LifeSmarts reaches 125,000 teens a year online and in classrooms nationwide. More than three million consumer literacy questions are answered every program year. LifeSmarts is active in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Pre- and post- tests of students who participate in LifeSmarts show an increase in scores from a C to a B+/A- average! Twenty-two LifeSmarts seasons and counting Preparing the next generation of savvy consumers, workers This September marked the official launch of LifeSmarts’ 22nd season, with a new competition going live at “In 2015 and beyond, we are excited to continue to grow the LifeSmarts program into new states and regions, to educate students about financial literacy and being responsible consumers, and to create a new generation of smart, market-ready consumers and workers,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of NCL. “Too often traditional high school curriculum fails to teach students vital information that will be crucial once students go to college, get their first job, or move out of their parents’ house.” This program year, NCL will continue to build upon partnerships with student leadership programs FBLA and FCCLA, which enable LifeSmarts content to reach a broader audience of teenagers across the country. In recent months, LifeSmarts launched an Alumni Association, a network for LifeSmarts participants and students involved with the program, including volunteers, community leaders, state coordinators, and coaches. NCL is currently working to grow the group via LinkedIn, monthly member outreach, and in-person networking opportunities. The Alumni Association also offers exclusive internship and scholarship opportunities. This spring, teens from across the nation traveled to Seattle, WA, to compete at the 21st annual National LifeSmarts Championship, where the team from Paxon School for Advanced Studies in Jacksonville, FL, coached by Kathy Loggie, was crowned the 2015 national LifeSmarts champion. In a historically tight final match against the second-place team from Rhode Island’s Barrington High School, the returning champs from Florida (who claimed the national title in 2013 as well) outplayed their opponents in an exciting end to the four-day competition. The final score of the nail- biting championship match was determined by only two points. Teams from Honolulu, HI, and Fenton, MI placed third among the teams competing from 34 states, the District of Columbia, and two student organizations, Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). LifeSmarts is NCL’s consumer literacy program that gives young people the 21st Century skills needed to become successful adults. LifeSmarts offers students a chance to travel, make friends from across the country, and compete for scholarships and other prizes while developing leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking skills. LifeSmarts also provides resources for educators to supplement lesson plans with consumer literacy content that has faded from many classrooms in recent years. Educators say LifeSmarts fosters excitement in the classroom, presents an opportunity to work with students at a rigorous level, and challenges students. The 2016 National LifeSmarts Championship will take place in Denver, CO in April. Each year, LifeSmarts awards nearly 50 students scholarship money. LifeSmarts is helping save lives Kelsey Becker was driving in a heavy rainstorm when her car hydroplaned. Few teens would have known what to do in this perilous situation. Instead of panicking, Becker remembered what she had learned while studying for LifeSmarts: to take her foot off of the accelerator, steer to an open area, and stay calm. She was able to safely avoid a serious accident that day. “LifeSmarts has really taught me important knowledge that is applicable to everyday life. It helps me and others know what to do. The safety aspect of the program can even save lives,” said Becker. This 2015 Student of the Year has been involved with LifeSmarts since her freshman year of high school and, remarkably, made it to the national LifeSmarts competition each year. Becker,whowasteamcaptainherjuniorandsenioryears,organized fundraising events, scheduled and led practices, communicated with local media to promote the LifeSmarts program, and even coordinated the UL-sponsored Safety Smart programs with local elementary school classrooms. It is no wonder that under Becker’s leadership, the Jamestown High School’s LifeSmarts team is North Dakota’s state champion. On what kept her motivated, Becker said, “I really loved the information and the people that I got to interact with. If you want a chance to learn very useful information that will help you and others throughout your life, then you should definitely join LifeSmarts. On top of that, it’s so much fun.” Becker has taken the knowledge that she has gained through LifeSmarts with her to MIT, where she enrolled as a freshman this fall. Student of the Year Kelsey Becker (center), with LifeSmarts Outreach Coordinator Seth Woods and Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. 2015 special LifeSmarts honors 2015 National LifeSmarts Championship takes Seattle by storm
  5. 5. NCL Bulletin Volume 77 Number 2 Page 8 Page 9 NCL calls on DOT to address deceptive airline, hotel fees Travelers are all too familiar with fees: baggage fees, cancellation fees, priority boarding fees, resort fees. The list goes on. Fees have become a profit center for the travel industry and are responsible for turning the airline industry’s profits around. Unfortunately, airline and hotel fees are often neither “fair” nor “transparent.” That’s the message that NCL took to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for Aviation Consumer Protection this summer. In presentations before an advisory committee, NCL Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud John Breyault argued that the current disclosure practices of cancellation/ change and hotel resort fees are inadequate and confusing. In 2014, cancellation/change fees (which generally cost a customer $200 on average) brought in nearly $3 billion for the airlines. These fees tend to exploit unavoidable misfortune: people cancel a trip because a family member got injured or sick, a work meeting is cancelled, or weather prevents travel. NCL is calling for reforms that would eliminate fees for changes more than 5 to 10 days before the scheduled travel and for airlines to refund cancellation/change fees if they are able to resell vacated seats other passengers. Air travel isn’t the only source of egregious fees. Once consumers arrive at their destination, they often face another pernicious charge: mandatory hotel resort fees. These fees are typically tacked on to the advertised room rate and charged when a consumer checks out. Last year, hotels made more than $2.25 billion from mandatory fees and surcharges tacked on at checkout. Hotels justify the fee as a way to cover the costs of amenities like Wi-Fi, fitness centers, in-room coffee, and other perks. (See graphic.) “These fees are unfair, especially since they are charged regardless whether a consumer actually uses any of these services,” said Breyault. “Nor are these mandatory fees included in the advertised room rate, which results in consumers thinking they’re getting a room for one cost, only to find that they will be charged significantly more.” NCL has urged the DOT to require airlines and online travel agents to include mandatory hotel resort fees in published rates to allow consumers to accurately compare costs. FCC task force helping consumers shop smarter for broadband Have you shopped for broadband service lately? If you have, chances are that you’ve been faced with dozens, if not hundreds, of options. Do you want broadband for your home or while you’re on the go? How much data do you need? Will the carrier you’re considering monitor your use to later offer you ads? For many consumers, the choices can be overwhelming. Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a historic Open Internet Order that, for the first time, classified broadband service as an essential public utility. A less-publicized part of the Order was a transparency requirement to help consumers more easily shop for broadband service. The FCC charged its Consumer Advisory Committee (which NCL chairs) with producing a sample disclosure format for comparing broadband services. NCL has participated in nearly two dozen task force meetings with FCC staff, broadband providers, and advocates to develop that disclosure form. “This disclosure form provides monthly cost of fixed and mobile broadband service, including fees. The form will let consumers know what speeds they should expect and provide privacy information and network practices,” said NCL’s John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications, and fraud. “Ultimately, the form will help consumers reduce time and headaches in choosing broadband service.” At the end of October, the Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) voted to adopt the sample form. The CAC’s recommendation will now be reviewed by the Commission for consideration. Should the CAC’s recommendation be approved, consumers will, for the first time, have a standard, easy-to-understand form for making an apples-to-apples comparison between competing broadband services. Medication adherence conference: ‘So Simple, So Hard’ “So Simple, So Hard” was the theme of a medication adherence conference hosted by the National Consumers League in September in Sacramento, CA. Sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the speakers and attendees explored the challenges and barriers to medication adherence—why it is so hard—and highlighted the tools and strategies to make it simpler and to improve adherence and health outcomes, especially among underserved populations. Medication adherence is an issue of great interest to NCL and other health advocates; poor adherence costs the American health care industry an estimated $290 billion a year; 125,000 people die due to poor adherence. Since 2011, NCL has led Script Your Future, a public education campaign to increase awareness among patients, caregivers, and health care professionals on the importance of taking medication as directed. The California event drew more than 80 health care professionals, community health workers, advocates, industry representatives, policymakers, researchers, and experts on adherence, who engaged with each other about possible collaborations and solutions. The meeting kicked off with presentations on adherence research and health disparities, and continued with a variety of strategies and tools to improve adherence that could be utilized in health care practices or organizations. “The adherence issue is complex and taking medications is not so simple, especially for ethnic and racial minorities who often face health disparities,” said NCL Vice President for Health Policy Rebecca Burkholder. “Collaboration among stakeholders who are dedicated to keeping the patient at the center of the discussion is a critical first step toward developing and implementing effective medication adherence strategies to help people better manage their care.” This fall, NCL welcomed an announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of its approval of the first-ever treatment for women’s low libido. Approval of the drug—flibanserin, which will be sold under the name ADDYI—came nearly four decades after the condition of HSDD (Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder), which it will treat, was first recognized in scientific journals. NCL and other advocates, including the National Organization for Women, had been calling for the FDA to consider the treatment option because it would be the first of its kind for women; Viagra entered the marketplace in 1998. In October 2014 and June 2015, NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg testified in support of treatments for patients suffering from HSDD. “Approvalofthistherapyismonumental for so many reasons: because it validates and legitimizes female sexuality as an important component of health; it underscores the FDA’s recognition of female sexual dysfunction as among the top 20 unmet medical needs; and it acknowledges that as a condition, HSDD is not simply a psychological problem or a reflection of cultural pressure on women, but a biological condition that can be treated with an effective medication. It’s been a long time coming, but this approval is a welcome and landmark breakthrough in women’s sexual health,” said Greenberg. Sally Greenberg speaking about Addyi on “CBS This Morning.” First female treatment approved
  6. 6. NCL Bulletin Volume 77 Number 2 Page 10 Page 11 When I started at NCL the FDA was (and still is) finalizing rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act. I’ve learned a lot about food safety during a pivotal time. I’ve been able to learn how and why the bill was developed and understand the obstacles delaying its implementation. I came to NCL from an organization that works with health care providers, so it has been interesting for me to join an organization that supports consumers. We are taking a leadership role on consumer participation in food waste. This fall, I will also present at a food waste conference. NCL also has other food waste related projects in the stay tuned! I’ve been fascinated with food and nutrition issues for years. One of the great things about working on food policy issues in Washington, DC is that everything is right here. I’ve been lucky enough to attend meetings and briefingsatUSDA,theEUCommission, and Congress. These opportunities give NCL a seat at the table and the ability to provide the consumer perspective on a variety of policy issues. I love being able to meet colleagues who share my passion and enthusiasm for food and nutrition! Authenticity of extra virgin olive oil raising concerns NCL investigates mislabeling of EVOO products The food marketplace has come a long way in the past century. Before Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle, consumers unknowingly consumed foods contaminated with vermin and insects and even human body parts! Today, consumers expect to buy food that is both safe and properly labeled. But, while food safety has made great strides, the false and deceptive labeling of food products is rampant. NCL recently discovered that to be the case with many brands of “extra virgin olive oil” products. In early 2015, NCL purchased 11 different varieties of bottles labeled “extra virgin olive oil” (EVOO) from four major Washington, DC-area retailers. Of the 11 products tested, six failed to meet extra virgin olive oil standards as set by the International Olive Council (IOC) when tested at an accredited laboratory in Australia. Only five were found to be extra virgin olive oil (see box). There are several explanations why a bottle could fail testing. Olives are a fruit whose quality deteriorates like any other; even if a bottle is technically EVOO when filled, it won’t remain EVOO forever. Other oils may be deliberately mislabeled by unscrupulous manufacturers. Since NCL announced the results and shared them with failing manufacturers, some producers have welcomed the information. Othershavedismissedtheresults,challenged NCL’s findings, and continued to knowingly sell mislabeled products. “NCL is calling on FDA to take action on what is rampant EVOO mislabeling in the United States,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “The FDA itself says that olive oil offers important health benefits and that these health benefits are found mainly in the extra virgin grade. Consumers are deprived of these benefits—for which they pay a premium—when they purchase mislabeled EVOO. Food safety rules reflect evolving systems and habits In 1938, Congress passed the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C). Regulated by the FDA, the law set safety standards for the manufacturing and distribution of food, drugs, andcosmetics.But,ourfood (drug and cosmetic) system has changed dramatically since the 1930s. Today, most of our raw and processed foods come from industrial farms. The popularity of frozen and prepackaged foods has skyrocketed. And imported foods account for 15 percent of the U.S. food supply, including almost 50 percent of fresh fruit and 20 percent of fresh vegetables. While everything from farming practices to eating habits has evolved since the 1930s, the FDA has followed the same safety standards implemented almost a century ago. Recently, that changed. The Food Safety Modern- ization Act (FSMA), which was first enacted in 2011, is a breakthrough for food safety in the United States. On Sept. 10, 2015, the final preventive control rules for human and animal food were released. These rules are a critical piece of FSMA’s prevention-based approach to improving food safety. Once all rules are in effect, the U.S. will have a food safety oversight system that requires producers and processors to take preemptive action against the growth and spread of pathogens. “NCL has long been involved in food safety. Currently, the House and Senate appropriations bills for the 2016 fiscal year do not meet funding needs,” said Ali Schklair, NCL food safety and nutrition fellow. “The Food Safety Modernization Act has the potential to overhaul our current food safety regulatory system, which will lead to less food contamination and foodborne illnesses. However, without sufficient funding, we could be stuck with the same antiquated system for another 80 years.” A focus on prevention reflects how food policy and public health frameworks have shifted in America. Instead of relying on reactive interventions, today, health initiatives look at identifying and preventing hazards before they reach the public. Prevention strategies are used to address public health problems like the flu, obesity, lung cancer, and now foodborne illness. Concerning study reveals child work persisting in cocoa production In July, a Tulane University study on cocoa production in West Africa surprised and disturbed members of the Child Labor Coalition (CLC). The study, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor, found an estimated 2.12 million child laborers working in hazardous cocoa production in the 2013-2014 harvest season in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana— disappointing news given efforts to reduce child labor in West Africa for the past 15 years. The study found one piece of welcome news: school attendance has increased in both countries. The number of children working in cocoa and attending school rose in Cote d’Ivoire from 59 percent to 71 percent and in Ghana from 91 percent to 96 percent. Later this year, the CLC will meet to shape plans for reacting to the report. “The study suggests that current approaches are not working,” said Reid Maki, NCL’s director of child labor issues and coordinator of the CLC. “Child labor on remote West African cocoa plantations is a difficult challenge, but an important one. We will need to fight for more resources and new strategies.” Joined NCL staff: September 2015 Hometown: Cape Elizabeth, ME Making the grade • California Olive Ranch “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” • Colavita“Extra Virgin Olive Oil” • Trader Joe’s“ Extra Virgin California Estate Olive Oil” • Trader Joe’s“100% Italian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil” • Lucini“Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil” What can consumers do? Remember, buying oil in tins or dark bottles does not guarantee that the product is pure EVOO and the USDA Organic label is also no indication of authenticity. Buying extra virgin olive oil with confidence in the U.S. can be a challenge. Consumers should: • Choose brands that consistently pass testing. • Check for“best by”dates, or—even better—harvest dates. • Avoid buying oils in clear glass bottles or from the top shelf, which could be more likely to be degraded. NCL’s investigation story broke on “The Dr. Oz Show” in May. Meet NCL’s new Linda Golodner Food Safety and Nutrition Fellow Ali Schklair
  7. 7. 1701 K Street NW, Suite 1200 Washington DC 20006 Telephone: 202-835-3323 Fax: 202-835-0747 Please visit us online at NCL Board Officers Chair - Ron Collins Honorary Chair - Esther Shapiro Vice Chair - Cleo Manuel Stamatos Secretary - Debra Berlyn Treasurer- Susan K. Weinstock Counsel - Jack Blum NCL Staff John Breyault, Rebecca Burkholder, Sally Greenberg, Lisa Hertzberg, Cindy Hoang, Terry Kush, Reid Maki, Carol McKay, Rashaud Nixon, James Perry, Sebastian Ramirez, Ali Schklair, Theresa Smith, Amy Sonderman, Seth Woods NCL Bulletin is published by the National Consumers League. (ISSN 1055-923X) Mail comments to: NCL, 1701 K Street, NW, Ste. 1200 Washington, DC 20006 Or call 202-835-3323, fax 202-835-0747, or email Copyright 2015 by National Consumers League. NCL should be credited for all material. All rights reserved. The National Consumers League is a private, nonprofit organization. NCL’s mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. Partner with us! Join the hundreds of organizations that work with NCL through programs, coalitions, and creative campaigns to educate and advocate on behalf of consumers and workers. • Join the 130+ Committed Partners of NCL’s Script Your Future campaign, an exciting multi-media initiative designed to raise awareness about the importance of medication adherence for patients with chronic diseases. • Help us build a new generation of savvy consumers by joining our LifeSmarts Advisory Board, which draws from technology, financial services, health care, credit scoring, telecommunications industries, and more. • Become a member of the Alliance Against Fraud, a coalition of government, law enforcement, labor, consumer advocacy, and businesses that share the goal of fighting Internet and telemarketing fraud. • Join NCL’s Health Advisory Council, a diverse group of partners that share perspectives and insights to lay a foundation of support for NCL’s work in health. • Fight against exploitative child labor by joining NCL’s Child Labor Coalition, a network of more than two dozen groups charged to influence public policy on child labor issues. To learn more contact Amy Sonderman, vice president, strategic alliances and development, at (202) 297-2829 or Donate!