NY State Assembly Adjourns Without Passing Age-Restriction Bill

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Washington, D.C.—Legislators in the New York State Assembly have decided against passing a bill to age-restrict access to supplements.

As WholeFoods Magazine previously reported, the bill passed the Senate on June 7; it then moved to the Assembly, where lawmakers had until June 10 to vote and pass the bill. The legislature adjourned early on June 11 without bringing the bill for discussion, ensuring that the bill will not pass in this legislative session.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and Natural Products Association (NPA) had engaged in grassroots activities and in talks with sponsors, stakeholders, local retailers, and state legislators in a fight against the bill, and applauded the news out of NY.

“CRN thanks the state assembly for recognizing the damage this bill would do to consumers and retailers,” said Julia Gustafson, VP, Government Relations, CRN. “This proposal would have needlessly restricted access to safe and beneficial products that may help consumers meet their fitness and weight goals without any scientific or legal basis to do so. Simultaneously, the bill would also place unreasonable compliance and economic burdens on retailers that may dissuade them from selling these products/ingredients at all.”

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The bill would have prevented customers under the age of 18 from purchasing weight loss supplements or diet pills containing ingredients including caffeine. CRN’s press release notes that, besides the supplements that the bill’s sponsors feel relate to eating disorders, the bill also would have created a system where a cognitive function supplement, pre-natal health supplement, or multivitamin might have different access requirements, if the supplement in question contained green tea extract or choline.

“CRN will continue to engage the proponents in New York and watch for similar legislation that is introduced year after year in other states, including Massachusetts and California,” said Gustafson. “The New York bill offers no reasonable solution to the problem the sponsors of the bill are seeking to solve. CRN remains committed to working with stakeholders across states to address legitimate concerns relating to eating disorders and nutrition deficiencies they cause, but these proposals, and others like it, are not the solution.”

NPA, too, cheered the bill’s failure to move on. “Special thanks to all of our grassroots advocates who’ve sent over 7,000 letters to their legislators in states that have introduced proposals like this one to restrict access to supplements,” said Mark LeDoux, Board of Directors Chairman, NPA. “We appreciate the dedication to the industry and making their voices heard in state capitols across the country.”

Daniel Fabricant, President and CEO of NPA, added: “NPA invests significant time and resources in protecting the industry against wrongheaded proposals like this one. Had this legislation been enacted, it would have cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in compliance. We are thrilled NPA was once again able to get the industry a much-needed victory.”