Guideline A for Unlicensed, Non-Exempt Persons

Overview of North Carolina’s Licensure Law

The Dietetics/Nutrition Practice Act was enacted in 1991 to “safeguard the public health, safety and welfare and to protect the public from being harmed by unqualified persons by providing for the licensure and regulation of persons engaged in the practice of dietetics/nutrition and by establishing educational standards for those persons.” G.S. § 90-351. Consistent with this purpose, an individual must obtain a license before he or she may legally (1) hold himself or herself out as a dietitian/nutritionist or (2) engage in the practice of dietetics/nutrition.

As discussed in the PDF that appears at the bottom of this page, one does not engage in the practice of dietetics/nutrition unless that person provides certain nutrition-related services in the context of a professional-client relationship. It is neither the purpose of the Dietetics/Nutrition Practice Act nor the intent of the Board to restrict the expression of general information, guidance or encouragement about food, lifestyle or dietary practices, whether through general publication—including books, television, radio, articles or website posts—or in one-on-one interactions. Thus, individuals are permitted to express information, guidance or encouragement about food, lifestyle or dietary practices to the public generally and to any willing and competent adult listener directly without first obtaining a license so long as they do not hold themselves out as a dietitian/nutritionist and they do not provide such information, guidance or encouragement (for free or for compensation) as part of a professional-client relationship formed to assess individual nutritional needs and then develop and achieve a specific nutrition-related goal, objective or outcome.

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