NPA says email campaign helped forestall Illinois bills on weight loss, CBD products

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

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Related tags Cbd Weight loss Weight management

The Natural Products Association credits a grass roots pressure campaign with forestalling the advance of two troublesome Illinois State measures. One affects weight management supplements and the other CBD businesses.

Lipotropics, thermogens targeted in bill

One of the bills, called The Over the Counter Diet Pills Act​, would restrict the sale of some classes of supplements to minors.  These include ingredients classified as lipotropics, which includes choline and betaine, which are used in a variety of dietary supplements. The other specified targeted ingredient class is thermogens, which include ingredients such as capsaicin, an extract of chili pepper with a long history of safe use.  ‘Over the counter diet pills’ is also defined by the act as including muscle building supplements.

The bill was introduced by State Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston. Gabel is an attorney who also has a masters degree in public health.

The bill would prevent the sale of these supplements to minors and would require them to be displayed in a locked case.  The Illinois Department of Public Health would be directed by the act to determine the actual list of affected products in consultation with the US Food and Drug Administration.

Gabel’s proposed legislation appears to be similar to a bill that has been introduced in several concurrent sessions of the Massachusetts legislature. In both cases, the motivation for the move appears to be a fear that the use of these supplements by teenagers could exacerbate eating disorder conditions.

“As we say, bad ideas don’t just come from Washington,”​ Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president and CEO of the Natural Products Association told NutraIngredients-USA.

Pressure campaign may have borne fruit

Fabricant said that through its membership NPA had been able to generate hundreds of emails to legislators in Illinois on the subject of the bill.  A hearing that was scheduled for this week has been postponed.  It’s a development that Fabricant said could be attributed at least in part to the ad hoc pressure campaign.

“You had some activist dietitians in Massachusetts that seem to have started this idea, linking the sale of weight management supplements with body dysmorphia and eating disorders,”  ​Fabricant said.  According to the results of a FOIA request to FDA,  NPA has said it has uncovered no evidence that links the two.

“It’s an attack on brick and mortar.  And it will just drive kids to purchase the products online,” ​he said.

One federal solution for CBD

A hearing on the second bill has also been postponed. That bill, called The CBD Safety Act​, was originally introduced by Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Springfield. Morgan is a health care attorney who has worked with the Illinois Department of Public Health. Morgan’s bill, which has garnered three cosponsors (two Democrats and one Republican), would set up a separate Illinois state function to inspect facilities that manufacture CBD products and to test the finished goods and vet their labels.

“We don’t want to be playing whack a mole with the states,”​ Fabricant said. “We want one solution.  We all pay federal tax for FDA to do exactly this, to set a safe level for CBD and to inspect the facilities where CBD products are made.”

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