Massachusetts Bill Prohibiting Dietary Supplements to Minors Fails

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Massachusetts Legislature, Rep. Kay Khan, Massachusetts House Bill 3471, Massachusetts House Bill 3471 fails

Massachusetts House Bill 3471, which would have prohibited the sale of dietary supplements for weight loss and muscle building to minors, has failed to pass in the Massachusetts Legislature.

In a document supporting the bill, Rep. Kay Khan alleged that weight loss and muscle building supplements have dangerous side effects, are adulterated with illegal substances, are insufficiently regulated and can even cause eating and body dysmorphic disorders.

According to a press release from the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), who “testified and organized a coalition of opposition,” the bill was “sent to a study by the Joint Committee on Public Health (JCPH) on June 30th, effectively ending any prospect for passage in this legislative session.”

“We applaud the legislature for setting HB 3471 aside because the arguments being advanced in favor of the bill were not based on data and did not make sense,” said Mike Greene,vice president of government relations at CRN, in a statement. “This bill would have needlessly restricted safe, legal and regulated products that may help with weight management or fitness goals. Additionally, it would have created loss of revenue to state businesses and had negative fiscal implications for retail establishments and pharmacies. The implications of HB 3471 were overly broad and burdensome, which is why CRN acted quickly to prevent it from coming to fruition.”

The bill would have also required weight loss and muscle building supplements to be removed from shelves and placed behind counters, where only “managers, assistant managers, acting managers and supervisory personnel or in the case of a pharmacy, an employee of the pharmacy located behind the pharmacy counter” would have access. A notice would have also been required to be posted in retail stores, communicating “that certain dietary supplements for weight loss or muscle building are known to cause gastrointestinal impairment, tachycardia, hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, severe liver injury sometimes requiring transplant or leading to death, organ failure, other serious injury, and death.”

Greene noted that CRN “will continue to keep a close eye on potential legislation in Massachusetts, but for now, consumers can continue to access these products, evaluate them at the shelf and select appropriate dietary supplements to use in their health regimen.”

Khan introduced the bill in 2015, which is the same year New York Attorney General (NYAG) Eric Schneiderman and 14 additional AGs from Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, the Northern Mariana Islands, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island co-signed and sent a letter to Congress, seeking more regulation of the dietary supplements industry.

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 7/8/2016