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  • Emilie Dye

New regulation will starve the supplements industry

Updated: May 19, 2021

When someone dies, the government often tries to play hero and prevent further deaths from occurring.

Such is the case after a bodybuilder recently passed away after consuming large amounts of protein. Unbeknown to her, she had a pre-existing condition preventing her body from properly processing protein.

Now the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is on a mission to tighten restrictions on health supplements by categorising them as therapeutic goods — or medicines — instead of food.

Currently, supplements are categorised as foods due to the fact that they supplement people’s diets. Under Australian law, all food must meet defined quality standards to prove they are safe for consumption, and producers must properly label foods, so the public knows exactly what they are consuming. Of course, any producer who fails to meet these standards should face the consequences.

When given the proper information, adults can easily make informed decisions. Some people will consume too many doughnuts, but Krispy Kreme should not be forced by law to cut off customers who have had a few too many. Peanut butter is associated with around 200 deaths per year. Should we also categorise that as a medicine?

The TGA is on a mission to tighten restrictions on health supplements, like protein powders used by bodybuilders.

Should it pass, this legislation would as good as kill the $1.9 billion vitamin and supplement industry, leaving thousands without jobs and robbing individuals of products they love. Furthermore, experts expect over 70,000 sports supplements would be pulled from the shelves as a result.

The supplement industry cannot simply push the cost of a medical certification on the customer and expect them to pay higher prices.

Because supplements are not medicines only a few would be even worth attempting to certify and even fewer would make it through the process. Anything that looks like a pill or a tablet would be called a medicine and would be pulled from the shelves along with any powder containing more than a single day’s recommended serving of nutrients and vitamins. This hurts not only bodybuilders trying to get ‘swole’ by consuming protein powder, but also vegans who need additional plant-based protein to get the nutrition they need.

This article first appeared in the Daily Telegraph's Rendezview on 5 December 2019.

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