New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law a bill that would restrict minors from purchasing dietary supplements marketed toward “weight loss and muscle building.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law a bill that would restrict minors from purchasing dietary supplements marketed toward “weight loss and muscle building.” While Hochul vetoed a similar bill in December of 2022, cite concerns about the Department of Health (DOH) being left to determine what products should be restricted by the law. “DOH does not have the expertise necessary to analyze ingredients used in countless products, a role that is traditionally played by FDA…It would be unfair to expect retailers to determine which products they can and cannot sell over the counter to minors, particularly while facing the threat of civil penalties,” explains Hochul.
The current legislation appears to have satisfied the Governor’s concerns. The revised text offers a more detailed definition of what constitutes a product for “weight loss or muscle building,” and offers the courts multiple factors to consider when making a determination. The new bills name specific ingredients, such as “creatine, green tea extract, raspberry ketone, garcinia cambogia, green coffee bean extract,” while making an exception for protein products unless they include ingredients that if taken alone would constitute a product for “weight loss and muscle building.” The legislation also provides specific examples of the types of marketing these products may contain.
Industry has expressed disappointment in the Governor’s decision. Advocates for the industry remain critical of the rationale behind the bills, which suggests that dietary supplements marketed for weight management and muscle building can lead to eating disorders in teens. This narrative has been pushed by special interest groups, namely Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders (STRIPED).
“It’s disingenuous and flat-out wrong to suggest the use of dietary supplements causes eating disorders, and FDA data proves it,” said Daniel Fabricant, PhD president and CEO of the Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, D.C.), in a press release. “The dietary supplement industry has an extensive history of providing consumers with well-researched, trusted products as evidenced by the 80% of Americans who use at least one dietary supplement as a safe and affordable way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Governor Hochul’s decision to prohibit access to safe and reliable dietary supplements like amino acids, creatine and other essential nutrients is fundamentally flawed and only hurts consumers.”
“This will impact a huge swath of products sitting on grocery store, pharmacy and natural retailer shelves throughout New York State,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, D.C.), in a statement. “Because of this blatant, alarmist misinformation pushed by STRIPED, Empire State consumers of all ages will have their ability to purchase dietary supplement products limited. It’s a sad day for consumer choice and scientific accuracy, and our membership needs to understand just what a severe threat STRIPED poses to our industry.”
“After urging Governor Hochul to recognize the importance of a more balanced approach to this issue, CHPA was disappointed to see this legislation signed into law today, making New York the only state in the country to unnecessarily limit consumers’ access to a broad range of dietary supplements,” offered Carlos Gutiérrez, vice president, State & Local Government Affairs for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA; Washington, D.C.). “Although well-intentioned, this law will ultimately do more harm than good. Its overly broad language will not just affect dietary supplements that are marketed for weight loss, but additional products that utilize a particular set of ingredients, including many used in popular supplements unrelated to weight loss at all.
“This sweeping legislation jeopardizes consumer access to the safe, beneficial, and well-regulated dietary supplements that millions of New Yorkers rely on every day to support their overall health and wellness. Restricting consumers’ ability to access certain supplement products not intended for weight loss will certainly have unintended negative consequences for New Yorkers and their health,” added Gutiérrez.