Supplements should not be subject to the same nutrient profiling methodology the European Union is set to apply to foods, according to the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers.
With the European Food Safety Authority due to deliver its opinion on nutrient profiling to the European Commission by January 2008, EHPM — which represents more than 200 supplements and health foods manufacturers across Europe — has said that nutrient profiling is irrelevant to the supplements industry.
In a statement it said nutrient profiling that "determines what foodstuffs will be prohibited or further restricted from making nutrition or health claims based on their sugar, fat and salt content, should not apply to food supplements since the levels of these substances are generally absent or very low."
EHPM chairman Peter van Doorn said: "The setting of nutrient profiles is a very complex, highly contentious matter. EFSA is still determining which food categories will be subject to the system, but we trust they will agree that food supplements should be exempted."
He added: "Even in the case of supplements such as fish oils which have a high fat content we believe the exemption should remain, because food supplements are generally not seen as the main contributors to the normal diet."
The pan-European nutrient profiling system is expected to be in place by 2009.