Regulatory officials and global scientific and regulatory experts came together in Bulgaria last week at a Food Supplement Training Forum to discuss and share global regulatory developments and trends on food supplements.
Eleven officials from Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Macedonia and Albania attended the two-day event in Sofia on 10-11 March, to discuss the various challenges faced by authorities in regulating food supplements in the South East European region.
Discussions focused on regional and global regulatory models and trends for food supplements, and included a two-hour presentation on the EU food supplement regulatory framework from Basil Mathioudakis, Head of the European Commission’s Food Law Unit of DG SANCO.
Other speakers included Professor David Richardson, Scientific Adviser to the UK Council for Responsible Nutrition and European Federation of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM); Dr John Hathcock, Vice President of Scientific and International Affairs at the US Council for Responsible Nutrition, Patrick Coppens, Secretary General of the European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA); and Simon Pettman, Executive Director of the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA).
The event was organised by IADSA and the Faculty of Public Health / Medical University of Sofia.
“With presentations from authorities and global experts in their fields, the event provided not just a unique exchange of information, but also a vital forum for helping to develop best practice in the field of regulation and policy,” said Peter Van Doorn, Vice Chairman of IADSA. “Many of these countries are in the process of reviewing their regulation for food supplements and functional ingredients and this Forum provided a timely and valuable opportunity for them to look at the best models worldwide.
Topics covered included safety and quality surrounding food supplements; the safety assessment of bioactive ingredients; the role, safety and benefits of botanicals in food supplements, the role of supplementation for specific population groups; and borderline issues for foods, cosmetics, traditional herbal medicines and medicines.
“Food supplement regulation and policy has become the topic of much discussion in Europe and internationally over the past few years,” said Ric Hobby, Chairman of IADSA’s Company Council. “More than sixty countries worldwide are currently in the process of developing new laws in this area or modifying their existing laws. Following and understanding these developments across the world, the solutions that are being proposed and how these solutions can be applied to policy objectives to ensure improvements in health of the population is an ongoing requirement for both regulators and scientists.”