Rhode Island bill restricting access to weight management and sports nutrition supplements fails in the state’s House of Representatives

Despite passing the state's Senate on June 7, the Rhode Island Senate Bill 2613, which would restrict access to weight management and sports nutrition products to minors, has failed to move forward after being referred to the House of Representative’s Health and Human Services Committee.

Despite passing the state's Senate on June 7, the Rhode Island Senate Bill 2613, which would restrict access to weight management and sports nutrition products to minors, has failed to move forward after being referred to the House of Representative’s Health and Human Services Committee. The Committee did not take up the bill prior to the State legislature adjourning on June 30. As a result, the bill will have to be reintroduced during the next legislative session and voted on once again.

"[The Council for Responsible Nutrition] is pleased to see that the Rhode Island House recognized the proposal passed by the Senate was overly burdensome and declined to consider it,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, D.C.). “We worked closely with a coalition of retailers and other stakeholders to ensure that this draconian approach was not enacted."

Similar bills threatening access to dietary supplements for weight management and sports nutrition have been introduced in numerous states to varying degrees of success. Massachusetts had an unsuccessful bill, while New York passed its version. California is poised to pass its version which just passed the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee. It has moved on to the Senate Appropriations Committee, and if it passes there, will move on to the full Senate for a vote. The Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, D.C.) has also been active in opposing legislation that would restrict access to dietary supplements, most recently testifying before California’s Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of industry to urge lawmakers against the legislation.

While industry has seen some success in softening the language of some bills, including California’s, to be less burdensome, they still pose a significant problem for industry, argues NPA. Ultimately, in the case of the California bill, groups such as STRIPED (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders), which advocate for the bill, would have too much authority to dictate what products should be prohibited for sale to minors, and there is opportunity for more ingredients to be flagged in the future for restriction, said Kyle Turk, NPA’s director of government affairs to Nutritional Outlook.