Stephen Eddey today been announced as the public face of a massive campaign over proposed TGA reforms likely to devastate Australia’s sport and health supplement industry.
Mr Eddey, who is also a former vice-president of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS), said he was 100 per cent behind the campaign to safeguard the $1.1 billion supplement industry against potentially devastating TGA reforms.
More than 110 Australians an hour have been signing up for the campaign, launched on Sunday.
“I’m fronting the Save Aussie Supplements campaign, which I believe is the most important action I’ve been involved with in my 25 years’ associated with this industry,” Mr Eddey said.
“I totally believe in this national call to action for everyone associated with the industry. That includes farmers who grow the ingredients used to make supplements, people working in factories and stores, and the millions of Australians who consume these products.
“Thousands of jobs could be lost and potentially up to 70,000 products would be removed from shelves if supplements are reclassified as medicine.
“This would stifle choice for consumers, who’ll be forced to order on-line and import their supplements from overseas which raises significant safety concerns for the industry.”
Brisbane-based Mr Eddey said while he supported any move to make the heavily-regulated industry even safer, he was “horrified” the TGA had moved so quickly to reject industry calls to extend the deadline for submissions on the proposed changes from December 3.
“There’s already been a massive backlash against these changes put forward by the TGA, so it’s vitally important there is close consultation with everyone associated with the industry,” he said.
“The industry has only been given a few weeks to respond to the TGA’s proposal, which simply isn’t good enough. It’s not even consultation – the industry has been told to lodge their submissions, which will then be considered.
“We need far more clarification about the devastating impact of reclassifying supplements from food to medicine.
“For example, powdered supplements currently being produced as food in Australia, will have to be processed at a TGA facility, meaning the process will be blown out by many months as these are already booked-out.
“These changes are likely to apply to products that could be used pre and post workout – including protein powders and sports drinks.
“We need as many Australians as possible to add their voice to this campaign, to put pressure on the TGA – and the Federal Government – to rethink their plans.’’
The TGA review follows concerns over two deaths: a consumer using a pure caffeine powder, and another with an underlying renal protein condition who used a protein powder.
If the TGA’s proposals are accepted, changes could be introduced that have the potential to restrict the supply and advertisement of supplements manufactured and sold within Australia.
The industry is calling on the TGA to consult extensively with stakeholders including the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), distributors of finished goods and raw materials, regulatory affairs consultants, universities conducting trials, agricultural industry and the CMA.
Mr Eddey called for a regulatory and economic impact statement to be created before an approved collaborative strategy was implemented.
Supplements likely to be impacted:
- All Australian-made supplemental foods in powder, liquid, capsule, tablet or pill
- Sports supplements – Fat loss; Muscle gain; Pre-workout; Post-workout; Mental performance; Stamina;
- Herbal products:
- Gut health products
- Sleep aids
- Plant based nutrients and vitamin blends
- Super foods – apple cider vinegar, herbals, fruit powders, dolomite, clay
- Encapsulated – fibre, superfoods, spirulina, apple cider vinegar, herbal teas, chia seeds, plant oils
- Functional foods – fermented, plant based
BACKGROUND: Stephen Eddey gained an Associate Diploma in Chemistry from Swinburn College and work for 5 years as a chemist in Melbourne. He then completed a Diploma of Applied Science (Naturopathy – Academy of Natural Therapies), a Bachelor of Complementary Medicine (Charles Sturt University) and a Masters of Health Science (Southern Cross University). He is also the former principal of Health Schools Australia.