Washington, D.C.—A bill under consideration in the Massachusetts State Legislature yesterday would place a costly burden on small businesses that are already struggling with the economic crisis related to COVID-19, according to a press release from the Natural Products Association (NPA).

The proposal would require businesses to place weight loss supplements and muscle-building supplements under lock and key, accessible only by store managers, forcing small businesses to retrofit their stores to comply. Online purchases of supplements would be restricted to adults over the age of 18. The bill, H. 4783, has been filed as an amendment to H. 4888 by Representative Kay Kahn. It is titled the “Protecting Children from Diet Pills and Muscle-Building Supplements” bill. NPA's comments are availablehere.

“Now is not the time to be placing a burden on small businesses, especially those that are responsible for providing products that support people’s health.  Millions of American workers and small businesses are managing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and people are looking for more ways to stay healthy,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA, in the press release.
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The bill’s sponsors claim that there is an association between dietary supplements and eating disorders, warranting this legislation, but NPA has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with FDA to determine if any association existed, and found no adverse events or reporting regarding dietary supplements and eating disorders, according to the release.

The bill targets ingredients called thermogenics and lipotropics. Thermogenics are found in caffeine and catechins, which are found in green tea and beans. Lipotropics are found in foods including lean cuts of beef, chicken, turkey, and fish like salmon and cod. “If eating cod is a health threat to minors it might be time to remove the Sacred Cod from the State Capitol, because cod is chock full of lipotropics, an ingredient targeted by this bill,” said Dr. Fabricant.

The press release says that the bill has already sparked thousands of letters in opposition.