TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in
relation to prohibiting the sale of food products containing melatonin
PURPOSE: This bill would prohibit any person, partnership, or
corporation from selling, or offering for sale, food products
containing melatonin to any person under the age of eighteen years,
and would requires stores involved in the retail sale of food products
to display such products containing melatonin in a location designated
for persons over the age of eighteen, in a manner which restricts
access to such food products.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: amends article 3 of the agriculture and markets law, adding
Sub-section 1: No person, partnership or corporation shall sell or
offer for sale in this state any food product which contains melatonin
to any person under the age of eighteen years; provided, however, that
any food naturally containing melatonin shall be exempt from the
provisions of this section.
Subdivision 2: Every person, partnership or corporation engaged in the
retail sale or rental of food products shall store and display such
food products containing melatonin in a location designated for
persons over the age of eighteen, in a manner which restricts access
to such food products.
Subdivision 3: Sale of any food products that contain melatonin shall
be made only to an individual who demonstrates, through (a) a valid
driver's license or non-driver's identification issued by the
commissioner of motor vehicles, the federal government, any United
States territory, commonwealth or possession, the District of
Columbia, a state government within the United States or a provincial
government of the dominion of Canada; or (b) a valid passport issued
by the United States government or any other country; or (c) an
identification card issued by the United States, indicating that the
individual is at least eighteen years of age. Such identification need
not be required of any individual who reasonably appears to be at
least thirty years of age, provided, however, that such appearance
shall not constitute a defense in any proceeding involving sale of any
food product, to an individual under eighteen years of age.
Subdivision 4: In any proceeding pursuant to this section, it shall be
an affirmative defense that a person purchasing or attempting to
purchase any food product containing melatonin produced a driver's
license or a non-driver identification card apparently issued by a
government entity or other identification pursuant to subdivision
three of this section, successfully completed the transaction, and
that the food product sold to such person was reasonable reliance upon
such identification and transaction. In evaluating the applicability
of such affirmative defense, consideration shall be given to any
written policy adopted and implemented by the seller to effectuate the
provisions of this section. Use of any method of an electronic
transaction scan shall not excuse any person operating a place of
business wherein food products are sold, or the agent or employee of
such person, from the exercise of due diligence. Notwithstanding the
provisions of this subdivision, any such affirmative defense shall not
be applicable in any civil or criminal proceeding, or in any other
Section 2: Contains the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: In 2009, there were 5,000 melatonin-related calls into
poison control centers, most involving small children. Melatonin is
known chemically as N-acetyl-s-methoxytryptamin, and is a naturally
occurring compound found in animals, plants and microbes. While it is
a naturally-occurring compound, when ingested as a dietary supplement
in large quantities, melatonin can lead the central nervous system to
slow down and cause trouble breathing.
In recent years, food products containing melatonin have become
prevalent in stores. However, one such product is a brownie referred
to as a "Lazy Cake." Lazy Cakes are marketed toward minors, and bear a
child- friendly cartoon logo, named "Lazy Larry" - similar to the Joe
Camel cigarette ads of the past. Although there is a warning that the
product is not for children, a child who finds the product at home is
at risk of ingesting the brownie because it appears to be an average
baked good. Additionally, many store clerks are unaware that the
products contain melatonin and willingly sell them to minors who think
that they are purchasing a simple brownie. The enactment of this bill
will protect minors from encountering the potentially dangerous
effects of melatonin.
This bill would exempt foods that naturally contain melatonin, such as
oats, corn, rice, almonds, fennel seeds, cherries, lemon verbena, balm
mint (the young part of the plant) and ginger, and would thus only
apply to foods in which melatonin is an additive.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-2012: A.8802-A - referred to agriculture
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: The ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.