CRN Reacts To Veto of California Age Limit Legislation
The Committee on Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industries, reacted to Governor Gavin Newsom’s veto of California Assembly Bill 1341 and reiterated that CRN wanted to find common-sense solutions to its concerns.
The specific content of California Assembly Bill 1341 is as follows:
- Retailers are prohibited from selling certain dietary supplements for weight loss to minors under the age of 18 without a prescription or ID.
- Ask for the California Department of Public Health to maintain a list of restricted products.
- CRN secures changes to final proposals.
The original legislation prohibited retailers from selling, transferring, or offering weight-loss dietary supplements and over-the-counter diet pills to minors under 18 without a prescription or valid ID. As amended during the legislative process, the bill would require the California Department of Public Health (hereinafter referred to as CDPH) to create and maintain a list of certain dietary supplements subject to the bill. CRN has worked on this for over a year to ensure changes are made to the final proposal to narrow the bill’s scope and protect its members’ legitimate products.
Julia Gustafson, who is CRN’s Vice President of Government Relations, said, “CRN has had numerous conversations and developed a good working relationship with Bill’s drafter, Assemblyman Cristina Garcia, and her related staff. CRN members are grateful to Cristina Garcia for her willingness to legislate practical measures to limit its scope and remove behind-the-counter restrictions.”
While opposing the initial version of AB 1341, the CRN worked with Assemblyman Garcia on a revised version requiring CDPH to evaluate products individually rather than imposing explicit restrictions on dietary supplements. The revised version also removes the liability of retail clerks and removes the restricted access to affected products initially included in the legislation. When the bill passed the Senate with these changes, CRN dropped its opposition and took a neutral stance.
In his veto message, California Governor Gavin Newsom pointed out that “dietary supplements for weight loss are not considered drugs.” And said it wants retailers to responsibly sell weight-loss dietary supplements and over-the-counter diet pills.
Julia Gustafson also said, “We hope to reconsider this bill or similar proposals during the next legislative session. CRN stands ready to work with lawmakers to ensure that this bill is reintroduced in a way that responsibly balances consumer safety with public access to dietary supplements. legislation.”
CRN Proposes Solutions To Increase Nutrient Access
On Wednesday, September 28, the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health was held for the first time. CRN has urged for more than five decades to identify policies to address nutritional disparities and hunger. CRN previously presented recommendations to increase nutritional access at a White House meeting in July. Meanwhile, CRN reiterated its earlier call to focus on improving nutrition and reducing hunger yesterday.
CRN President and CEO Steve Mister said: “No one should go to bed hungry, and everyone should have access to a variety of foods, but focusing only on calories and food counts is short-sighted. Better nutrition leads to a healthier life.
On July 15, the CRN submitted a file to remind the meeting of one thing. To create a healthy and nutrient-rich nation, it is critical to expanding access to dietary supplements for low-income and underserved populations. To help achieve the pillars of the conference, CRN made the following recommendations:
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, simply put, SNAP; its welfares include a multivitamin/mineral supplement;
- To ensure adequate resources are allocated to regularly update dietary reference intakes and establish new DRIs for nutrients and bioactive as needed;
- To develop education on the relationship between nutrition and better health and to improve the role of dietary supplements in filling nutritional gaps;
- Focus on private sector partnerships to increase access to nutrition.
The CRN acknowledges that existing research indicates that two groups of adults are at greater risk of nutritional shortages, those who are low-income and those who are food insecure population; believe that modifying the SNAP program to allow beneficiaries the opportunity to purchase multivitamin or mineral supplements (currently prohibited) would help address socioeconomic nutritional disparities and help achieve improved food access and affordability.
The CRN calls for ensuring that there are sufficient resources to update the DRI. This reflects the reality that with the limited exception of sodium and potassium, updated in 2019, DRI has not been updated for at least the past 15 to 20 years, despite numerous studies highlighting DRI. Nutrition plays an essential role in the following:
- boost immunity
- maintain cognitive function
- active lifestyle
- reduce the risk of chronic disease
At the same time, CRN also called for regular updates of existing DRIs and the establishment of new DRIs. Integrate nutrition and health by providing researchers, policymakers, and healthcare providers with the latest information on nutrients and bioactive substances to develop new plans and recommendations.
In addition to access to a variety of nutritious foods that provide these nutrients, as well as supplements that fill nutritional gaps, consumers need nutrition education that explains the importance of a healthy diet and explains the negative health consequences of failing to meet the body’s dietary needs.
The CRN letter also highlights private sector initiatives to improve nutritional access by partnering with nonprofit organizations serving low-income and food-insecure individuals and families. In an effort to expand the dietary supplement industry’s efforts, CRN’s Access Act program requires its members to make voluntary or nonprofit donations during June and September. And this activity has been successful with broad member participation.
Dr. Andrea Wong, CRN’s senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, who is also one of CRN’s letter signatories, made the following observations:
If we want to be a healthy and nutrient-rich nation, expanding low-income and underserved populations with access to supplements, including vitamins, multivitamins, and minerals, is critical. And as we all know, the best way to get all the recommended daily nutrition is to eat a balanced diet, but it is not always possible to do it easily, especially for low-income populations. Expanding SNAP benefits to include supplements will go a long way toward closing nutritional gaps. This is especially timely as Congress turns its attention to the 2023 reauthorization of the Farm Bill. Upcoming legislation may prioritize nutrition, so adopting this recommendation would be a big step toward improving public health.
Ending hunger is an important and necessary goal, but we want nutrition to be an equally important part of the equation. Suppose we can properly feed and nourish our most vulnerable Americans. In that case, we have a real opportunity to prevent and possibly eliminate some of the chronic diseases that have plagued us for years. In turn, we may see changes in how we approach the healthcare system.
CRN Is Working on The Dietary Supplement Product List
But Concerns Still Remain
Despite progress on the Drug User Fee Act and the FDASLA Act of 2022, CRN remains committed to supporting the MPL, the Mandatory Product List. (Does not include provisions to increase the transparency of dietary supplements.) For the publication of the text of the 2023 Act on Continuing Appropriations and Supplementary Appropriations of Ukraine, CRN Vice President of Government Relations Julia Gustafson issued the following statement:
CRN is so glad that the text of the continuing resolution has been released, which includes the reauthorization of the drug user fee schedule. And it is most likely that Congress will pass it later this week. Continue to fund critical FDA functions. We recognize that FDA requires continuity and adequate resources to protect public health and safety.
However, CRN is disappointed that, due to time constraints and the need to create a ‘clean bill’ that Congress can approve at this last minute, leaders of both parties decided to remove all included ‘super riders.’ The legislation “must pass” in the U.S. Senate. CRN expressed concerns about this text when it passed the Senate HELP Committee, but we also believe our concerns can be addressed because we aim to produce a workable registry for all dietary supplements. In addition to provisions affecting cosmetics and diagnostics, language that was supposed to implement the MPL for nutritional supplements was also removed from the bill to expedite passage and avoid a government shutdown this weekend.
CRN remains committed to creating a mandatory registration for dietary supplements and will provide FDA, as a regulatory agency, with greater understanding and transparency for all consumers. Before Congress wraps up, Capitol Hill has already begun discussions on other possible tools to create the MPL, and we look forward to continuing our seat in those negotiations. Although today’s event is a frustration, it is not the end of our efforts to provide the FDA with visibility into the markets it is responsible for regulating.
Nutri Avenue Conclusion
The Council for Responsible Nutrition, commonly referred to as CRN, was founded in 1973. And it is headquartered in Washington, DC. CRN is the leading trade association representing manufacturers and ingredient suppliers of dietary supplements and functional foods. CRN member companies manufacture the majority of nutritional supplements sold in the U.S. and globally.
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