Supplement Industry Concerned About EU GM Food Proposals

Brussels, Belgium: Supplement manufacturers have expressed alarm about the European Commission's recently adopted proposals on the authorisation of genetically-modified (GM) foods.

Under Directive 2001/0180, all foodstuffs containing or consisting of GM substances — including animal feed — will need to be fully traceable, with the onus on food companies to gather the relevant information at each stage of the production chain. In addition, all GM foodstuffs, including ingredients above a one per cent threshold, will require labelling. Manufacturers will have to prove that any contamination below the one per cent threshold is accidental. In addition, under current proposals manufacturers will have only six months to trace and label all GM ingredients already on the market once the regulation comes into force.

Excessive Proposals
Some supplement manufacturers have already branded the proposals excessive and claim the regulations would be a major hindrance to supplement manufacture. Anthony Bush, chairman of the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers, (EHPM) told Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals: "I think these new regulations could be seen as somewhat draconian and difficult to achieve. Tracing everything is fine when you're talking about milk and cows but it's much more difficult to establish a supply chain for supplement ingredients." He added, "I think we need to work with the EU to try to find a solution that would be acceptable without being too much of a burdon for the industry."

Level Playing Field
However, major manufacturer Solgar Vitamins is more optimistic about the proposals. "The upside is that it seems there will finally be a level playing field for all manufacturers," said a spokeswoman. "Solgar has always labeled accurately and been up-front about the GM issues and this legislation will hopefully serve to standardise labeling practices for the benefit of the consumer."

The proposals proceed to the European Parliament for consideration later this year.

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