On March 12th, 2020 the Florida legislature approved the Council’s legislation to exempt holistic health and wellness professionals, and this was signed into law on July 1st! This monumental victory would not have happened without our amazing member schools and stakeholders. Is your school a member?
Alert! The Institute for Justice has filed suit against the state of Florida for their highly restrictive, unfair nutrition license law. Read here!
Analysis of the Exemption
Florida’s Dietetics Practice and Nutrition Act (DNPA) requires a license to provide “dietetics and nutrition practice or nutrition counseling” for remuneration. The law defines dietetics and nutrition practice as:
[A]ssessing nutrition needs and status using appropriate data; recommending appropriate dietary regimens, nutrition support, and nutrient intake; ordering therapeutic diets; improving health status through nutrition research, counseling, and education; and developing, implementing, and managing nutrition care systems, which includes, but is not limited to, evaluating, modifying, and maintaining appropriate standards of high quality in food and nutrition care services.
The law also defines “[n]utrition counseling” as “advising and assisting individuals or groups on appropriate nutrition intake by integrating information from the nutrition assessment.”
The DNPA placed severe restrictions on holistic health practitioners, because anyone wishing to provide individualized food, diet, and nutrition advice, guidance, or recommendations, must first have that state-issued license. However, the only person that can be granted a license is a Registered Dietitian who has been approved by the Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Council.
“Any person who provides information, wellness recommendations, or advice concerning nutrition, or who markets food, food materials, or dietary supplements for remuneration, if such person does not provide such services to a person under the direct care and supervision of a medical doctor for a disease or medical condition requiring nutrition intervention, not including obesity or weight loss, and does not represent himself or herself as a dietitian, licensed dietitian, registered dietitian, nutritionist, licensed nutritionist, nutrition counselor, or licensed nutrition counselor, or use any word, letter, symbol, or insignia indicating or implying that he or she is a dietitian, nutritionist, or nutrition counselor.”
A new exemption to licensure will be codified as 468.505(n) in the Florida statutes and provide considerable room to practice for unlicensed practicantes. While the new exemption goes a long way to open the practice of holistic health, there are still caveats to be aware of:
While practitioners are free to open or expand their business and see individual clients, they should continue to refrain from using the occupational title “nutritionist” to describe themselves, or their practice, but may use “nutrition” in its singular form when talking about your practice and services.
Clients with Existing Medical Conditions or Diseases
Practitioners should conduct detailed information gathering with prospective clients, focusing on medical intervention history, and current/past medical providers.
If a client is under the current, direct care of a medical doctor, for a diagnosed disease or medical condition, in which nutrition intervention has been prescribed as the treatment, the practitioner may not work with that client.
As always, holistic health practitioners may not legally diagnose, treat, or attempt to cure a disease or medical condition, however per the new exemption this no longer applies to weight loss and obesity.
If you would like to see the current exemption law, § 468.505, click here.