CRN Files Preliminary Injunction Motion Seeking to Stop NY State Age-Restriction Law

APRIL 4, 2024

Says Enforcement Will Restrict Consumer Access to Safe Dietary Supplements 

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, announced today that it has filed an emergency motion seeking to prevent enforcement by the New York State Attorney General of a new law passed in 2023 that will age restrict the sale of certain dietary supplements.

On March 13, 2024, CRN filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, which the association contends would restrict consumer access to safe and beneficial health products, and have severe and unintended negative consequences on the operations of brick-and-mortar and online retailers doing business in the state. The motion filed today is an element of that suit.

“This new law was pushed by social advocates relying on an unscientific and meritless argument that dietary supplements somehow cause eating disorders in young people, when the research shows they do not,” said CRN President and CEO Steve Mister. “If we stand by and allow this law to go into effect, it won’t help young people with eating disorders, but it will stop families in the Empire State from purchasing the trusted nutrition products they use to keep their families healthy.”

Specifically, the law prohibits the sale of dietary supplements and products containing ingredients that are marketed, labeled, or otherwise represented for the purpose of achieving weight loss or muscle building. However, CRN contends the law is particularly unclear on what is required of businesses and which products are impacted. It could be interpreted in different ways, leading responsible, well-meaning manufacturers and retailers to run afoul of the law without even realizing it. Likewise, it will lead cautious marketers to chill their truthful and lawful communications with consumers for fear of triggering the restrictions.

In its motion filed yesterday, CRN argues that the law violates the New York and United States constitutions and should be invalidated because it is ambiguous, chills speech, is an excessive use of the state’s police powers, and preempted by certain Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act provisions. The association is asking the court to stop the state Attorney General from enforcing it until the issues the association has identified in the litigation have been resolved.

“Right now, this law is wide open to interpretation and incredibly ambiguous in terms of how it gets enforced,” said Mister. “This vagueness will create uncertainty in the retail marketplace, which will ultimately result in retailers deciding not to sell many dietary supplement products, as they will err on the side of caution in an attempt to not break this ill-defined law. In the end, consumers will have less products to choose from when they go to the pharmacy, grocery store or when placing orders online.”

Also available: Declaration of Steve Mister.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 180+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics.  Follow us on Twitter @CRN_Supplements and LinkedIn.