While some restrictions on the practice of holistic nutrition have been lifted, Illinois remains an Exclusive Scope of Practice State. Please be aware that the changes to the law will become effective on January 1, 2023.
Illinois House Bill 4665 was passed in April 2022 and signed by Governor Pritzker on May 27, 2022. This legislation extends licensure for Dietitians and Certified Nutrition Specialists until January 1, 2028, and has been recorded in the Illinois Compiled Statutes (225 ILCS 30/) Dietitian Nutritionist Practice Act. A link to this statute is at the bottom of this page. This legislation has also expanded the exemptions for holistic nutrition professionals in Illinois and will become effective on January 1, 2023.
The Illinois Dietitian Nutritionist Practice Act requires a license to practice dietetics and provide nutrition services. Nutrition services are defined as the integration and application of principles derived from the sciences of food and nutrition to provide for all aspects of nutrition care for individuals and groups, including, but not limited to: nutrition counseling, nutrition assessment, medically prescribed diets, *medical nutrition therapy, nutrition services, nutrition education and nutrition counseling as components of preventive maintenance or restorative care. Only dietitians and nutritionists are eligible to receive a license in Illinois.
* Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) is “the component of nutrition care that deals with the systematic use of food and oral supplementation, based on the nutrition assessment and individual health status and need to manage health conditions.”
Section 15. License required.
(a) No person may engage for remuneration in the practice of dietetics and nutrition services or hold himself or herself out as a licensed dietitian nutritionist unless the person is licensed in accordance with this Act.
Section 15.5. Unlicensed practice; violation; civil penalty.
(a) Any person who practices, offers to practice, attempts to practice, or holds oneself out as being able to provide dietetics and nutrition services without being licensed under this Act shall, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, pay a civil penalty to the Department in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for each offense as determined by the Department. The civil penalty shall be assessed by the Department after a hearing is held in accordance with the provisions set forth in this Act regarding the provision of a hearing for the discipline of a licensee.
(b) The Department has the authority and power to investigate any and all unlicensed activity.
(c) The civil penalty shall be paid within 60 days after the effective date of the order imposing the civil penalty. The order shall constitute a judgment and may be filed and execution had thereon in the same manner as any judgment from any court of record.
Further penalties for violations may be found in 225 ILCS 30/170)
Section 170. Violations; penalties. Any person who is found to have violated any provision of this Act is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for second and subsequent offenses.
Section 20. Exemptions. This Act does not prohibit or restrict:
(a) Any person licensed in this State under any other Act from engaging in the practice for which he or she is licensed.
(b) The practice of dietetics and nutrition services by a person who is employed by the United States or State government or any of its bureaus, divisions, or agencies while in the discharge of the employee’s official duties.
(c) The practice of dietetics and nutrition services by a person employed as a cooperative extension home economist, to the extent the activities are part of his or her employment.
(d) The practice of dietetics and nutrition services by a person pursuing a course of study leading to a degree in dietetics, nutrition, or an equivalent major from a regionally accredited school or program, if the activities and services constitute a part of a supervised course of study and if the person is designated by a title that clearly indicates the person’s status as a student or trainee.
(e) The practice of dietetics and nutrition services by a person fulfilling the supervised practice experience component of Section 45, if the activities and services constitute a part of the experience necessary to meet the requirements of Section 45.
A person, including a licensed acupuncturist, from:
(1) providing oral nutrition information as an operator or employee of a health food store or business that sells health products, including dietary supplements, food, or food materials; or
(2) disseminating written nutrition information in connection with the marketing and distribution of those products, or discussing the use of those products, both individually and as components of nutritional programs, including explanations of their federally regulated label claims, any known drug-nutrient interactions, their role in various diets, or suggestions as how to best use and combine them.
(g) The practice of dietetics and nutrition services by an educator who is in the employ of a nonprofit organization; a federal, state, county, or municipal agency, or other political subdivision; an elementary or secondary school; or a regionally accredited institution of higher education, as long as the activities and services of the educator are part of his or her employment.
(h) The practice of dietetics and nutrition services by any person who provides weight control services, provided the nutrition program has been reviewed by, consultation is available from, and no program change can be initiated without prior approval by an individual licensed under this Act, an individual licensed to practice dietetics or nutrition services in another state that has licensure requirements considered by the Department to be at least as stringent as the requirements for licensure under this Act, or a registered dietitian.
(i) The practice of dietetics and nutrition services by any person with a masters or doctorate degree with a major in nutrition or equivalent from a regionally accredited school recognized by the Department for the purpose of education and research.
(j) A person from providing general nutrition information or encouragement of general healthy eating choices that does not include the development of a customized nutrition regimen for a particular client or individual, or from providing encouragement for compliance with a customized nutrition plan prepared by a licensed dietitian nutritionist or any other licensed professional whose scope of practice includes nutrition assessment and counseling.
(k) The practice of dietetics and nutrition services by a graduate of a 2 year associate program or a 4 year baccalaureate program from a school or program accredited at the time of graduation by the appropriate accrediting agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education with a major in human nutrition, food and nutrition or its equivalent, as authorized by the Department, who is directly supervised by an individual licensed under this Act.
(l) Providing nutrition information as an employee of a nursing facility operated exclusively by and for those relying upon spiritual means through prayer alone for healing in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination.
(m) A dietary technical support person working in a hospital setting or a regulated Department of Public Health or Department on Aging facility or program who has been trained and is supervised while engaged in the practice of dietetics by a licensed dietitian nutritionist in accordance with this Act and whose services are retained by that facility or program on a full-time or regular, ongoing consultant basis.
The provisions of this Act shall not be construed to prohibit or limit any person from the free dissemination of information, from conducting a class or seminar, or from giving a speech related to nutrition if that person does not hold himself or herself out as a licensed dietitian nutritionist in a manner prohibited by Section 15.