CRN Testifies Against Proposed Age Restriction Bill in Massachusetts

NOVEMBER 15, 2023

Testimony Focused on Absence of Evidence Tying Supplements to Eating Disorders 

WASHINGTON – CRN (Council for Responsible Nutrition), the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement and functional food industry, today provided in-person and written testimony in Boston to voice opposition to H.2215/S.1465, which, if enacted, would prohibit access to safe and beneficial dietary supplements to consumers 18 years of age and younger—and limit access to these products by consumers of all ages.  

Michael Meirovitz, CRN’s senior director, government relations, presented testimony to the state’s Joint Committee on Public Health that urged legislators to oppose the bill. While underscoring that CRN strongly sympathizes with anyone impacted by the devastating effects of eating disorders and respects the intent of the bill sponsors, Meirovitz said, “this proposed legislation does nothing to help those who suffer with it.” He emphasized “unequivocally that there is no credible scientific data that the products or ingredients identified in the legislation lead to, or cause, body dysmorphia, eating disorders or mental health issues.” 

Meirovitz’s remarks also focused on the numerous challenges that Massachusetts consumers, retailers and regulators would face if the bill was enacted. In addition to demanding proof of age at checkout, the bill would require affected products to be “behind the retail counter or in a locked case,” making it more difficult for consumers of all ages to find these items and compare labels to select the product that’s right for them. The broad and vague term “dietary supplement for weight loss or muscle-building” in the legislation creates difficulties for retailers to determine what’s actually covered. CRN also noted that any age-restriction legislation passed at the state level does not prevent young people from purchasing these products from going to other states to purchase products, or to buy them from online retail sites where enforcement is nearly impossible. 

Susan Hewlings, R.D. Ph.D., who published a peer-reviewed examination of the literature in the scientific journal Nutrients in April, 2023 entitled “Eating Disorders and Dietary Supplements: A Review of the Science,” also testified before the committee about her findings.  Like Meirovitz, she emphasized to lawmakers the lack of evidence in any scientific literature that dietary supplements are a cause of eating disorders.  

Commenting on the hearing, Steve Mister, President & CEO, said, “We remain hopeful that the committee will take a moment to look closely at the science in the submitted testimony and realize that this bill is trying to fix a complicated societal and medical issue with an oversimplified proposal. It conveniently scapegoats these products without providing meaningful solutions for young people who are affected by eating disorders.”

CRN’s Michael Meirovitz testified on Beacon Hill against age-restriction legislation for supplements.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 200+ 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.