The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) on Tuesday provided testimony against HB 1195, a bill that would restrict those 18 years and younger from purchasing weight loss and muscle building products. CRN does recognize that the misuse and abuse of these dietary supplements by minors is a potential concern for health issues such as eating disorders. However, if this bill is passed, according to testimony by Ingrid Lebert, senior director of government relations, it will hurt legal business in the state of Massachusetts. CRN claims that they are “alarmed with this legislation” because it limits access to the products that they consider safe, legal, and regulated to responsible consumers.

Lebert claims that consumers are protected under federal regulatory structures such as the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, a federal law enacted in 1994 that establishes federal regulatory structure for dietary supplements, and also the Dietary Supplement and Non-Prescription Consumer Protection Act regulation that set up a post-market surveillance program by creating a system for submitting and monitoring serious adverse events to FDA to determine a potential pattern of problems with a particular product.

CRN has three main concerns with HB 1195. They are concerned with the impact the bill might have on legitimate retail business because they believe it will hurt businesses from large chain drug pharmacies to small mom and pop health food stores. They are also concerned that HB 1195 are using “unproven articles that don’t apply to dietary supplements,” such as those that claim eating disorders can come from the use of dietary supplements. Lebert claims that CRN is not aware of any evidence to prove causation between eating disorders and the “responsible use of dietary supplements.” Finally, they are concerned that the bill will ban and restrict a large number of beneficial products, backed by considerable scientific evidence and a long history of safe use.

CRN claims that the legislation of mandatory age restrictions on specific products may force retailers to stop selling them for fear of liability. This legislation may also have a financial burden on businesses. It might call for 700 private retail establishments and registered pharmacies in Massachusetts to hire new staff, purchase new equipment, and pay for additional storage. The dietary supplement industry has a $298 million total direct economic impact in Massachusetts, and generates $52 million in tax revenue annually.

CRN opposed this bill when it was first introduced in 2015 and its testimony was crucial for preventing it from moving forward. Another,similar bill, CRN opposed would have required all dietary supplements sold on military bases to be verified by an independent third-party selected by the FDA, claiming that “while third-party verification programs are valid and commendable options for companies who choose to find ways to differentiate themselves for their customers, to mandate third-party certification as a requirement of sale would add costs that could be prohibitive for companies, and would likely be passed on to consumers.”

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 10/17/17