Singleton, Vitale Bill To Regulate Sale Of Dietary Supplements To Minors Advances

Trenton – In an effort to protect the health and well-being of New Jersey’s youth, the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Joseph Vitale which would prohibit the sale of certain diet pills and dietary supplements to persons under 18 years of age, unless otherwise accompanied by a parent or guardian.

“Eating disorders and body image issues are serious public health problems affecting teens of all races, ages, and genders,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Over-the-counter diet pills and supplements are highly unregulated and run the risk of producing harmful side effects in our children. We must protect our kids from products that market themselves as fast and easy ways to lose weight or gain muscle, especially during their formative years when they are most vulnerable.”

The bill, S-2387, would prohibit a person from selling, offering to sell, or offering for promotional purposes any over-the-counter diet pills or dietary supplements for muscle building to a minor, including employees of a retail establishment. A person who violates the provisions of the bill would receive a fine of not more than $750.

“In recent years, research has illuminated the prevalence of eating disorders in teenagers; 50 percent of teenage girls and 30 percent of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex), Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee. "Protecting unsuspecting youth from the dangers of certain supplements can be lifesaving. Giving parents this tool is the right thing to do.”

Under the bill, “dietary supplement for muscle building” would mean a dietary supplement sold for or used with the intent to build muscle. This definition excludes protein powders, drinks, and foods, unless the protein item contains ingredients other than protein which would, considered alone, constitute a diet supplement for muscle building. The bill would not apply to the sale of any over-the-counter dietary supplement prescribed by a licensed health care professional.

This bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-2.