Bill restricting access to weight management supplements passed by California Assembly
The California Assembly passed legislation by a vote of 44 to 12 that would place age restrictions on access to “over-the-counter weight loss supplements and diet pills.” In the legislations, dietary supplements for weight loss are defined as a class of dietary supplements sold or used to achieve weight loss, including but not limited to “thermogens, lipotropes, hormones, including including hormone modulators and hormone mimetics, appetite suppressants, and ingredients deemed adulterated under section 342 of title 21 of the United States Code.”
Assembly Bill 1341 (AB 1341) was previously held up by the State Appropriations Committee, delaying passage until the Assembly meets again in January 2022. Now that it has passed by the Assembly, the bill will now go to the California Senate. The bill’s sponsors argue that the legislation is necessary because of the association between weight-loss products and eating disorders. Critics of the legislation argue that such an association does not exist. The Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, DC), for example, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine whether such an association existed and found no adverse events or reports associated with dietary supplements and eating disorders.
“We share the concern of teens with eating disorders, but banning ingredients found in vitamin water, fruit smoothies and other common products in grocery stores is overkill,” said Daniel Maker, PhD, President and CEO of NPA, in a press release. “More Americans are turning to natural products during the pandemic than ever before because they want to stay healthy. Obesity and poor nutrition are a big problem in the United States, and that’s why we’re We are focused on expanding access to nutritional supplements through government programs, including WIC, SNAP, and through private health savings accounts.
NPA argues that the legislation not only imposes a costly burden on small businesses, but may also lead people under the age of 18 to rely on shady online sellers rather than responsible brick-and-mortar retailers. The association’s grassroots campaign has generated more than 4,000 letters and 3,000 appeals to California elected officials, and NPA Director of Government Affairs Kyle Turk testified against the bill last year. Similar legislation is being considered in New York, New Jersey, Missouri and Massachusetts.
“We need people to raise their voices and tell elected officials to reject this misguided proposal,” Fabricator said. “The federal government has in place broad enforcement powers and a long history of punishing criminals who break the law. We support strong enforcement to protect consumers, but this proposal is unnecessary and will not only do anything to protect public health.