Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff walked onto the stage at the 2004 annual Usana Health Sciences convention in Salt Lake City.
â€œGood morning, Usana,â€ he shouted. â€œAnd I have some news for you. Last night I talked to Governor Huntsman, and he agreed with me that it is now time to change the name of our state.
â€œFrom now on we will be known as Utana.â€
Shurtleffâ€™s jest was met with enthusiastic applause. His long-ago joke, though, still illustrates a basic truth about the state. Because it is home to dozens of companies that sell billions of dollars worth of skin lotions, herbs, vitamin pills and exotic fruit potions to hundreds of thousands of distributors, the companies have scores of supporters, from lawmakers to those who promote economic development in Utah.
And even critics, who say the distribution networks are nothing more than product-based pyramid schemes and that the supplements industry buys â€œregulatory insuranceâ€ by giving lots of money to worthy causes, see their influence at work.
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