Washington, D.C.—California billAB-1341: Dietary supplements for weight loss and over-the-counter diet pillswould "place a costly burden on small businesses who have already been hard hit by the COVID-19 health and economic crisis." That's the word from the Natural Products Association (NPA), which announced that Kyle Turk, NPA Director of Government Affairs, is serving as the chief witness testifying against the bill in a hearing today, April 27, at 12 PM EST.  A live feed of the hearing can be viewedhere.

NPA also announced its launch ofa grassroots campaignto counter the bill, which NPA says would:
  • Prohibit retailers from selling dietary supplements for weight loss and over-the-counter diet pills to any person under 18 years of age.
  • Require a retail establishment to limit access to those products.
  • Require the department to determine which products will be subject to those access limitations.
Related: CA Introduces Bill to Age-Restrict Supplements

“This bill will do more harm to small businesses already hard hit by the pandemic, while doing nothing to protect public health,” said Turk in a press release.  “The idea that these politicians are wasting time on a proposal that would restrict access to nutritional supplements during a pandemic is absurd."

NPA reported that the bill’s sponsors say the legislation is necessary because of an association between dietary supplements and eating disorders. To that, NPA says, "no such association has been proven by a review of the most authoritative publicly-available data.  NPA recently filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine if any such association existed and found no adverse events or reporting associated with dietary supplements and eating disorders."

NPA added that the bill also targets thermogenics, "which are found in foods and beverages we use every day, like caffeine in coffee, catechins found in green tea or beans" and  lipotropics, "which are found in healthy and recommended foods, including lean cuts of beef, chicken, turkey and in fish like salmon."

AsWholeFoodspreviously reported, Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA, took issue with the bill's focus, explaining, “Nutritional supplements are simply natural ingredients found in foods and restricting access to them is unfair to California consumers, hurts responsible retailers, and drains the state budget through lost sales taxes. Nobody wins.”
Related: Senators Reintroduce Health Savings Act to Expand HSAs, FSAs 6th Annual Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit Looks to the Future of the Industry

Turk noted that California isn’t the only state considering this kind of proposal. Similar bills have been reintroduced in Massachusetts and New York. Turk added, "NPA will continue to stand up for access to nutritional supplements in California and across the country.”