The European Commission should draw a clear line exempting food supplements from nutrient profiling, the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM) has said.
Speaking out in response to the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) published opinion on the system’s feasibility, EHPM said that supplements should be exempt because their levels of sugar, fat and salt are generally very low or absent.
The nutrient profiling system determines which foodstuffs will be prohibited or further restricted from making nutrition or health claims based on their sugar, fat and salt content. It aims to address concerns that health claims made on foods high in these substances would lead to more consumption and contribute to rising obesity levels.
EFSA’s opinion allows for certain products to be exempt from nutrient profiles, but makes no reference to the status of food supplements.
EHPM Chairman Peter van Doorn said: “We are surprised that there is no mention of exemption for food supplements. Even supplements such as fish oils which have a high fat content should be exempt from the system, because food supplements are generally not seen as the main contributors to the normal diet.”
EHPM, which represents more than 2000 specialist health product manufacturers across Europe, joined scientists and stakeholders last year at an EFSA scientific colloquium in Parma to discuss the various aspects of nutrient profiles.
Mr Van Doorn said: “At the EFSA colloquium there seemed to be general agreement that food supplements should be exempt from the system. We hope that the Commission will take this issue into further consideration.”
The nutrient profiling system is expected to be in place by 2009.
The European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM) was created in 1975, working to provide consumers with safe, science-based, high quality products as well as accurate and helpful information about their nutritional value and use.