Three hundred government officials from southeast Asia, Europe, the US, Mexico, Japan and China met with members of scientific organizations, trade associations and industry in Yokohama, Japan, to affirm the need for industry and government to work in unison to develop food supplements regulations and better communication of supplements science.
While progress is being made in these areas, many hurdles, such as the imposition of idiosyncratic local laws and the fact supplements industries in many developing countries are not represented by well organised trade groups at a political level, remain.
"There is momentum, dialogue, important relationships and influence in a positive manner for the supplements industry in general," said one attendee. "For instance, a 50 per cent luxury tax duty that was to be applied in Thailand for supplements has just been overturned, which was a good result. But these things are intensely political, and progress is slow. Overall, though, it was a very productive session, and regulators in many countries are now looking to IADSA for guidance."
The event, organised by the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations in conjunction with its four Japanese member associations, opened with a message of support from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and marked the first occasion government representatives from Japan, the EU, US and ASEAN came together to present their countries' regulatory models. Speakers presented key regulatory developments in the different countries, and agenda topics included the regulation and substantiation of health claims and the establishment of a global model to assess safety of bioactive substances used in supplements.
"We're delighted to be able to continue IADSA's role of providing greater communication and solutions on the both regulation and the science behind dietary supplements," said Randy Dennin, Chair of IADSA. "The workshop demonstrated that while there continue to be many different approaches to regulating dietary supplements, the principles that form the basis of these are increasingly consistent throughout the world."
IADSA recently awarded global regulatory improvements a mark of six out of 10. "Through cooperation with governments and other national organisations we have seen action get underway in countries as diverse as India, Turkey and Argentina, but there are still substantial and potential barriers to trade in some parts of the world that we would like to see removed… but overall it would appear that legislation is moving in the right direction," said IADSA regulatory affairs manager, David Pineda.