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In general, food and food products sold by food stores are not taxable. This includes products that are used as dietary foods and health supplements. This bulletin provides information on and gives examples of the types of products that qualify as dietary foods and health supplements, and also gives some examples of products that don't qualify.
Dietary foods include any food labeled for special dietary use by people. Dietary foods are intended to substitute for or supplement an ordinary diet, or substitute for natural foods. The label of a dietary food must have a statement describing the product's nutritional and dietary properties.
Health supplements, such as vitamins and minerals, are products that are intended to substitute for or supplement natural food in an ordinary diet.
If a product qualifies as a dietary food or health supplement, it's exempt from sales tax regardless of the form in which it's sold (i.e., sold as a solid, liquid, pill, or powder).
Carbonated beverages, sports drinks, and energy drinks don't qualify as dietary foods or health supplements. However, products that supplement and replenish the body after intense exercise may qualify as nontaxable dietary foods if they're labeled and sold as a nutritional shake, protein drink, or similar product. (Note: Any brand name product shown in italics is included as an example and is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product.)
|Examples of products that are exempt1||Examples of products that are taxable|
Tax Law: Sections 1105(a); 1105(d); 1115(a)(1); and 1132(c)(1)
Regulations: Sections 527.8 and 528.2