NY Assembly Returns to Target Brick and Mortar Health Food Stores, Limit Access to Essential Products

NY Assembly Returns to Target Brick and Mortar Health Food Stores, Limit Access to Essential Products

NPA Blocked Last Year’s Bill with Aggressive Grassroots Campaign

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Natural Products Association (NPA) today is calling for the New York state legislature to reject a proposal that would prohibit the sale of popular nutritional supplements like protein powder to minors and place unnecessary burdens on small businesses.  NPA led a successful effort to block the same proposal during last year’s session and has also blocked similar proposals in Massachusetts, Illinois and California.

“No one benefits from this except large online retailers, and it comes at the expense of brick-and-mortar stores that have been especially hard hit by the pandemic.  Local health food stores have been declared essential by federal and state governments because they provide critical supplies that people need during the pandemic.  We urge the legislature to reject this dangerous proposal,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA.  “Prohibition of popular consumer products almost never works.  Prohibiting the sale of products by licensed retailers in New York will only make consumers more vulnerable to fly-by-night outfits selling fake products and illegal drugs masquerading as supplements.”

This legislation targets lipotropics, which are found in healthy and recommended foods, including lean cuts of beef, chicken, turkey and fish, thermogens, which are found in products containing caffeine, and muscle building supplements such as amino acids and vitamin D. The bill’s sponsors claim that the legislation is necessary because of an association between dietary supplements and eating disorders, yet no such association has been proven by a review of the most authoritative publicly-available data.  In fact, NPA’s professional staff was so interested in the allegation that it filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine if any such association existed and found no adverse events or reporting associated with dietary supplements and eating disorders.  There was no linkage whatsoever.

The same proposal was introduced and referred to the New York Assembly’s Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee last year on March 12, 2020, where it died in committee due to NPA’s aggressive grassroots campaign. NPA is preparing to launch a new grassroots campaign and will be hosting a virtual call to action with its members in the coming days to discuss the response.  NPA also expects to see similar legislation introduced this year in Massachusetts and California.