A new TGA legislation which will go up for review on December 3rd will recategorize almost every supplement sold from ‘food’ to ‘therapeutic goods’ – affecting protein powders, pre-workouts, recovery products, weight loss blends and wellness products in 2020. This legislation will result in greatly restricted consumer choice and increasing costs to those products remaining on the shelves.
We agree that consumer safety should be of top priority in supplement manufacturing, this has always been a key value of the Bulk Nutrients brand, and we believe that safety is well protected under the Food Standards Code.
If the legislation is to pass, many Australian manufactured products would need to be discontinued or reformulated. As for imports, the new law would make Australia’s legislation completely inconsistent with the rest of the world, meaning supplements which are manufactured overseas may not be compliant and may not be able to be imported into the country. Not only would this require government resources to police the borders for non-conforming supplements, but it would severely limit the choice of consumers as they would no longer be able to access well-loved brands which make up a big part of the market today.
We believe supplements should be continued to be regulated under the Food Standards Code, and that listing all products that exceed dosages from Schedule 29 as TGA goods is a huge overreach. The TGA legislation, while well-intentioned, needs to be reconsidered for the sake of consumers but also the industry. If all supplements became therapeutic goods it would heavily burden manufacturers in Australia with huge costs without any safety benefits. This would make us uncompetitive in the market, costing Aussie jobs. It would also mean completely reformulating products with fewer ingredients and lower doses, affecting the confidence of consumers and therefore demand and growth of a 1.1bn industry.
While the proposal may contain some positives such as restricting WADA banned ingredients to TGA products, it needs to be reassessed to ensure safety is met without taking unnecessary measures. For one, products which claim to have benefits, such as “increase strength” or “help with weight loss” would become therapeutic goods. These claims are widespread in breakfast cereals, muesli bars and other dietary products available in the supermarkets. Surely muesli does not qualify as a therapeutic good from next year?