New rules to bring industry into line
BODY building products will carry warning labels and personal trainers will be ordered to stop giving diet advice under a plan to control the booming sports supplements industry.
The scheme has been drawn up after revelations protein powders contributed to the death of 25-year-old Western Australian mum Meegan Hefford in 2017.
Measures agreed by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation include:
Developing a compliance and enforcement strategy, including potential testing and legal action. Anecdotal evidence appears to show a number of non-compliant products.
An education program for gyms and personal trainers to ensure they only provide basic healthy eating information. Advice about supplements would instead be referred to qualified professionals, such as a sports dietitian.
Informing gym-goers about the potential risks associated with supplements and where to get diet advice. Supplements are widely used but many are unaware of the risks.
Reviewing the outdated section of the Food Standards Code that has struggled to keep abreast with the industry. Reform could include compositional and labelling requirements.
Ms Hefford’s death made headlines across the world and sparked a major debate about the safety of high-protein diets and the use of supplements.
Unknown to the mum-oftwo, she had a rare genetic disorder that stopped her body from properly breaking down protein.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has since pushed for improved safety measures.
These will also include helping doctors better identify patients with a metabolic condition such as Ms Hefford’s urea cycle disorder.