Around the Globe - February 23, 2006

Produced in consultation with IADSA (International Alliance of Dietary Food Supplement Associations)

This is the first installment of an ongoing column on the global environment for dietary food supplements. In this column we will provide updates on critical issues, emerging dialogue, international focal areas impacting or potentially impacting the regulation and trade of these products.

WHO/FAO (World Health Organization / Food and Agriculture Organization)

Nutrient Risk Assessment
The Report of the FAO/WHO Scientific Workshop (May 2-6, 2005) on Nutrient Risk Assessment has now been published and is available at The ultimate goal of the process is to establish a scientifically valid model for establishing maximum levels of intake for vitamins and minerals based on available safety data.

The Workshop report is expected to become the authoritative guidance on the methodology for carrying out risk assessment of vitamins and minerals and therefore have an impact throughout the world on the establishment of maximum levels of vitamins and minerals.

IADSA continues to provide comments and input into the process.

The Use of Supplements in Sport
Following a second International Symposium on the use of supplements in sport, convened by the World anti-Doping Agency last fall, in concert with sports organizations, industry, athletes, government, the sports research community and anti-doping organizations (ADOs), IADSA and ISDI (International Special Dietary Foods Industries) are among those involved in a working group exploring mechanisms to reduce the risk for athletes to test positive for banned substances as a result of the consumption of dietary supplements and sports foods.

The industry driven working group’s efforts are being enthusiastically supported by numerous ADOs eager to see enhanced dialogue on an ongoing basis, as well as better educational resources provided to the sports community. Ongoing working group discussions include an assessment of programs to identify and inform athletes of products and companies representing the lowest risk of causing a doping positive.

Proposed EU Legislation on Health and Nutrition Claims
Key issues under discussion as legislation looms for health and nutrition claims in the European Union include claim substantiation, and the types of claims that will make it through the regulatory process. Current concerns include an approach towards rigid wording, as well as the potential removal of numerous claims currently in use by the industry.

While industry groups are still hoping to make further changes to the text during the coming debates in the European Parliament, work is already underway across the food and food supplement industries to ensure a common approach to supporting claims, focusing on the substantiation of claims for each ingredient used in supplements and functional foods.

Pan-Pacific Region:
Recent dialogue occurred in Thailand exploring common approaches towards production, labeling and quality of dietary supplements in the ASEAN countries of South East Asia. At this time, industry trade associations from 9 Asian countries met in some cases for the first time to exchange ideas regarding the regulation and manufacture of these products.

This dialogue and ongoing relationships between the associations to share perspectives, experiences and ideas is extremely encouraging both in preparing for dialogue with regulators, but also in supporting industry growth.

“While regulatory change in Europe and North America is often the focus of attention for many in the industry, the potential changes throughout Asia can potentially have the most significant effect in the global market, observes Simon Pettman, IADSA Executive Director. “With countries including China, India and Indonesia looking at their regulatory frameworks for food supplements, it is no surprise that support of associations and government in Asia remains the number 1 priority for IADSA in the coming year”.

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