New amendment targets Supplements Directive loophole

Supplements industry groups opposed to the EU Food Supplements Directive are hoping proposed amendments to forthcoming Nutrition and Health Claims legislation may keep more than 270 supplement nutrient sources on the market.

John Bowis, a UK conservative member of the European Parliament, introduced an amendment that, if passed, would permit trade in products containing nutrients and their sources not listed on the directive?s positive list, provided that:

  1. the product complies with this Health Claims regulation,
  2. the vitamin or mineral substance in question was used in one or more food supplements marketed in the community on July 12, 2002, and
  3. the European Food Safety Authority has not given an unfavourable opinion in respect to the use of that vitamin or mineral substance, or its use in that form, in the manufacture of food supplements.

The amendment, which will require bipartisan UK support to succeed, also allows for products to exceed maximum levels to be established under the directive if they are in compliance with the Health Claims regulation.

Sue Croft, director of UK supplements advocacy group Consumers for Health Choice, which is supporting one of two legal challenges to the Food Supplements Directive, said: ?This move could really help us. It could be the ?get-out-of-jail card? we?ve all been searching for. Provided the government doesn?t pour cold water on the move, and if they actually instruct their own members of parliament to support the motion — we?re in with a chance.?

The Health Claims legislation is proving to be just as divisive as the directive was when it was first being debated in the European Parliament. More than 400 amendments have been introduced to the proposal that is still in committee, although there is pressure for the measure to be passed by year?s end.

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