ANH Puts Spotlight On EU Procedures For Food Supplements Following European Court Judgment

The Alliance for Natural Health has today informed the European Commission that it will scrutinise its procedures and those of the European Food Safety Authority on food supplements, in accordance with a European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment.

On 12 July 2005 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg delivered its judgment on a case brought by the EU-wide Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), along with two UK health food associations. The case challenged the EU Food Supplements Directive potential ban on thousands of food supplement products on the EU market that contain nutrient forms
not listed on the ‘positive list’ of the Directive.

ANH files applications to create legal precedent
The ANH has filed 15 applications to the Directive’s positive list as a means of testing the European Commission and European Food Safety Authority’s procedures, which were referred to as having the “transparency of a black box” by the ECJ’s Advocate General Geelhoed in April 2005. This flaw was regarded as being of such a nature that the Advocate General made a recommendation to the ECJ that the Directive be invalidated.

When the ECJ delivered its ruling some three months later, the Directive was upheld – but on the condition that the procedures for adding vitamin and mineral ingredients to the Directive’s limited positive lists were made fully transparent and carried out within a reasonable time frame.

The ANH has been engaged in correspondence with the relevant authorities, including the UK Food Standards Agency, the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority, on all aspects of the procedure and time lines for applications to the positive list and has yet to receive adequate, clear responses.

“The European Commission and European Food Safety Authority appear to be ignoring the ECJ’s ruling and continue to be operating within their black box,” says Dr Robert Verkerk, Executive & Scientific Director of the ANH. “It’s critically important now that we establish proper procedures for permanently adding vitamins and minerals to the Directive’s positive list, using the clarified procedures set up by the European Court, especially as derogation dossiers, some of which were very brief, could be rejected at any stage.”

The Directive only lists 15 minerals, when scientific research has shown that many more are needed for optimum health, at dosages greater than those found in most contemporary diets. Among the ANH’s 15 applications, nine are applications to have additional minerals, including sulphur, strontium, vanadium, boron and lithium added to Annex I of the positive

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