Florida Enacts Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act

ByCrossFitJuly 2, 2020
Found in:200703,Battles

In a significant victory for CrossFit affiliates, on June 30, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act (HB 1193), permitting CrossFit trainers across the state to provide nutrition guidance to their members and clients. Previously, Florida law only permitted dietitians and other select licensed professionals to provide nutrition recommendations to their clients.

As detailed in CrossFit, Inc.’s press release, CrossFit commends Florida’s legislature and governor for this much-needed action:

“We thank Governor DeSantis, the Florida Legislature, and the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Ingoglia and Sen. Albritton, for enacting the Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act,” said Brett Ewer, spokesman for CrossFit, Inc. “They saw a problem: One licensed profession was harassing our trainers, and so many others, for providing basic nutrition advice. They saw it wasn’t right, and they stood up against this entrenched interest seeking to protect its market share. Floridians who are trying to become healthier deserve better than a monopoly — they deserve a choice.”

Florida’s Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Act was established in 1988. Since then, the Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Council has overseen and enforced regulations concerning who may give recommendations and guidance about diet, nutrition, and food to individuals for remuneration. The Act had required a license for any individual providing individualized diet and nutrition recommendations for remuneration. The Act now permits unlicensed persons to provide individualized dietary recommendations, as long as they do not do so for any client under the supervision of a medical doctor and do not make themselves out to be a dietitian. Previously, a person providing individualized nutrition recommendations for compensation would have been required to obtain a license from the state, which required the successful completion of an examination produced by a private entity, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). CDR is an agency affiliated with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), a private organization representing dietitians.

The nutrition provisions in the Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act come in response to a legal challenge to Florida’s dietetics law, waged by CrossFit trainer and health coach Heather Kokesch Del Castillo. In May 2017, Del Castillo was the subject of a sting operation conducted by the Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Council, which fined her $750 for the unlicensed practice of dietetics due to her provision of individualized dietary advice. In October 2017, Del Castillo challenged the fine in federal court. The suit is currently on appeal in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Florida’s nearly 500 CrossFit affiliates are locally owned and operated small businesses that make their communities healthier every day. They should not have been harassed, and they should have been free to offer nutrition guidance from the start,” Ewer said. “Now, because of the exemplary leadership of Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, we are confident that our affiliates and trainers can continue their fight against the chronic disease epidemic.”

CrossFit, Inc. has been actively engaged with this specific issue on behalf of its Florida affiliates and trainers for over two years and is proud to see this work pay off in victory. CrossFit will continue to fight to protect its affiliates’ and trainers’ rights to speak freely about the foundational elements of the CrossFit methodology and human health.