Department of Homeland Security Declares Health Food Stores and Supplement Manufacturers Essential Services

Department of Homeland Security Declares Health Food Stores and Supplement Manufacturers Essential Services

“Our Members Are Going to Stay Open to Provide Essential Services,” Says Fabricant

WASHINGTON – Based on guidance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and President Trump’s declaration that workers in critical infrastructure have a “special responsibility” to continue working, the Natural Products Association (NPA) today said that its members including thousands of health food stores in Pennsylvania, California, and Miami-Dade, FL whose elected officials have balked at this declaration, would remain open at the discretion of business operators in order to provide essential services during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

“We have a responsibility to stay open and provide essential services, and that is exactly what we are going to do.  Health-food stores that provide nutritional supplements and other health and wellness products will remain open at the discretion of business owners,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA.  “Local businesses are an essential resource for Americans in times like these, especially people at risk, who need access to neighborhood stores. Communities need these stores open and we are asking lawmakers to lift any order as it relates to health food stores.”

In recent days, states and territories have begun to order the closure of most businesses for an indefinite period except for supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants offering carryout or delivery, medical equipment stores, gas stations, banks, and liquor stores.  DHS guidance relevant to health food stores and the nutritional supplement supply chain includes:



  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products
  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging
  • Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers
  • Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education
  • Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids



  • Workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains, transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, and the defense industrial base.

NPA recently launched a grassroots campaign urging lawmakers to keep health food stores open as state, local, and national governments respond to COVID-19.  NPA’s grassroots campaign can be viewed here.


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Natural Products Association

The Natural Products Association (NPA) is the trade association representing the entire natural products industry. We advocate for our members who supply, manufacture and sell natural ingredients or products for consumers. The Natural Products Association promotes good manufacturing practices as part of the growth and success of the industry. Founded in 1936, NPA represents over 700 members accounting for more than 10,000 locations of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids. Visit