Bill restricting access to weight control supplements passed by the California Convention

The California Convention passed legislation by a vote of 44 to 12 imposing age restrictions on access to “diet supplements for weight loss and over-the-counter diet pills.” The legislation defines dietary supplements for weight loss as a class of dietary supplements sold or used to achieve weight loss, including but not limited to “thermogens, lipotropics, hormones, including hormone modulators and hormone mimetics, appetite suppressants, and ingredients known as… adulterated under Section 342 of Title 21 of the United States Code.”

Assembly Bill 1341 (AB 1341) was previously held up by the state’s Appropriations Committee, delaying its passage until the Assembly was reconvened in January 2022. After passing the convention, the bill will now go to the California Senate. The sponsors of the bill argue that the legislation is necessary because of the link between weight loss products and eating disorders. Critics of the legislation argue that such a union does not exist. The Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, DC), for example, has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine whether such an association exists, and none Adverse events or reports found related to dietary supplements and eating disorders.

“We share concern for teens with eating disorders, but banning ingredients found in vitamin water, fruit smoothies and other common grocery store products is an overstatement,” said Daniel Fabricant, PhD, NPA’s president and CEO, in a press release “During the pandemic, more Americans than ever are turning to natural products to stay healthy. Obesity and poor nutrition are a significant problem in the United States, and that is why we are focused on expanding access to dietary supplements through government programs including WIC, SNAP and through private health savings accounts.

NPA argues that the legislation not only places a costly burden on small businesses, but may also result in people under the age of 18 relying on dodgy online sellers instead of responsible brick-and-mortar retailers. The association’s grassroots campaign has generated over 4,000 letters and 3,000 phone calls to elected officials in California, and Kyle Turk, the NPA’s director of government affairs, testified against the law last year. Similar legislation is under consideration in New York, New Jersey, Missouri and Massachusetts.

“We need people to make their voices heard and urge elected officials to reject this misguided proposal,” Fabricant said. “The federal government has tremendous enforcement powers and a long track record of punishing criminals who break the law. We support vigorous enforcement of the Consumer Protection Act, but this proposal is unnecessary and not only will do nothing to protect public health.”

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