Natural products industry trade associations are taking action to fight age-restrictions bills that seek to prohibit access of certain nutritional supplements to those under the age of 18. Experts stress that the stakes for natural products retailers and the industry overall are high, as bills are proposed in several states, and t
Industry Associations Are Fighting Age Restriction Bills
Several experts provided written and/or in person testimonies at the hearing in Massachusetts on behalf of the natural products industry. Among them:
Kyle Turk, NPA’s Director of Government Affairs: “It’s disingenuous to claim there is a connection between eating disorders and the use of dietary supplements. The FDA’s surveillance tools have never found a connection between any supplement and eating disorders. If they did, they’d be required to use their enforcement authority to act. Sadly, in its current form, this legislation will prevent consumers from taking their health into their hands and restrict their ability to supplement their potentially nutrient-deficient diets, a fundamental lesson we learned during COVID-19.” Turk added that “supplements, which are easy to add to our daily diets, are often the first step many take toward greater nutritional awareness and healthy lifestyle choices.”
Michael Meirovitz, CRN’s Senior Director, Government Relations: While urging legislators to oppose the bill, Meirovitz stressed that CRN strongly sympathizes with anyone impacted by eating disorders and respects the intent of the bill sponsors, but noted, “this proposed legislation does nothing to help those who suffer with it.” Meirovitz emphasized “unequivocally that there is no credible scientific data that the products or ingredients identified in the legislation lead to, or cause, body dysmorphia, eating disorders or mental health issues.”
Carlos Gutierrez, Vice President, State & Local Government Affairs, Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA): “CHPA opposes the two pieces of legislation considered by the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health at Wednesday’s hearing, as they contain the most restrictive barriers to dietary supplements by any U.S. state to date. Since the language in both bills is extremely vague, if adopted, they may impact general health dietary supplements that are not intended or labeled for weight loss. Worst of all, both bills would require behind-the-counter placements of these products, which would severely limit access by adding unnecessary hurdles and unjustifiably imposing significant burdens on retailers—especially small businesses that lack behind the counter space. While we support reasonable and targeted safeguards, CHPA will never support policies that jeopardize consumers’ access to safe, beneficial, and well-regulated dietary supplements that millions rely on each day to support their overall health and wellness.
“Rather than restricting access to safe and beneficial products through overly burdensome and unprecedented restrictions, which will primarily hurt Massachusetts residents seeking to support their health, CHPA encourages the legislature to take a more targeted approach to this issue by specifically focusing on products marketed for weight loss or muscle building and not inadvertently applying restrictions to supplements for general health. We also recommend the legislature increase enforcement against any illegal products falsely marketed as dietary supplements for weight loss.”