Trade organisation ERNA has praised the European Commission’s viewpoint in its recent orientation paper on maximum and minimum levels for vitamins and minerals in foodstuffs.
The European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA) said the document, sent out to Member States for consideration on July 27, showed a balanced legal and scientific view of the issues at hand – not least the suggestion that there should be no maximum amounts set for nutrients that have no evident safety concerns, such as vitamins B1, B2, B12, biotin and pantothenic acid.
ERNA Chairman Gert Krabichler said: "We welcome the approach that the European Commission has taken in the orientation paper on setting maximum and minimum amounts for vitamins and minerals in foodstuffs. It reflects the relevant European Court of Justice rulings and is based on the scientific risk assessment carried out by the European Food Safety Authority. It is a balanced view that takes both the legal aspects and scientific elements into account. It emphasises the safety approach and reflects the legal interpretation of the Food Supplement Directive and the Fortified Food Regulation."
The orientation paper outlines a number of issues, suggesting that the tolerable upper intake levels as established by SCF/EFSA or set by other scientific bodies such as EVM be deemed appropriate; that RDA/PRIs should be used to indicate deficiencies and to categorise nutrients on the basis of their risk of exceeding their upper intake levels; and that there should be no different maximum amounts for different population groups, as upper intake levels already take into account the specificities of the different groups.
It also stated that food supplement maximum amounts should be set per daily dose of consumption, that fortified food maximum amounts should be set per weight or energy, and that minimum amounts for food supplements could be established at the level of the significant amount defined by the nutrition labelling Directive.
Among the models mentioned in the orientation paper the EHPM/ERNA model, which classifies all nutrients with a structured basis for risk management measures as opposed to a case-by-case approach, received much support.
The orientation paper will be further discussed in September by an expert group made up of Member State representatives.
The European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA) is made up of major European food supplement manufacturers and suppliers, all working towards a common European approach to food supplements that reflects the interests of both the consumers and the industry.