IADSA briefs

Committee investigates adverse reactions
A new committee has been set up by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) to investigate adverse reactions to health foods and dietary supplements. Its members are specialists in the fields of liver, kidney, dermatology, obstetrics and gynecology, together with pharmacists specializing in the raw materials of Chinese herbal remedies.

The relevant committee members will be called upon to advise on the causes of adverse reactions, and if necessary will require animal tests to be carried out in addition to literature searches. If any clear relationships to particular products are found, full details, including product names, will be publicized through the internet.

Call to amend food supplement regulation
AFINUR, Spanish Association of Phytotherapy and Responsible Nutrition, member of IADSA, has recently motivated the presentation before the Spanish Senate of a proposal to revise the Spanish Royal Decree 1275/2003 on food supplements. In addition, an alternative text to the Royal Decree has been developed including provisions and annexes, which in the opinion of AFINUR are more adequate and less restrictive.

According to AFINUR, this proposal requests the Spanish government to solve the problem created with the inadequate implementation of the EU Food Supplement Directive by the Spanish authorities. In particular, the proposal questions annex 3 of the Royal Decree as it establishes maximum levels for nutrients based on RDAs, and therefore should be deleted. AFINUR believes that the levels established in the Decree reduce the Spanish industry's capacity to compete against other European manufacturers who seem to be able to produce food supplements at higher levels than those set in the Spanish decree.

Free sale for herbal food supplements
The French association SYNADIET has recently received official confirmation from the French Health Directorate (DGS), that medicinal plants that are listed in the pharmacopoeia but do not appear in the list of 'toxic' plants, can be offered for sale as food supplements at outlets other than pharmacies.

However, this freedom of sale only applies if the plant's use as a food supplement has been authorised according to the terms of the French implementation of the European Union Food Supplement Directive.

Food guide recommends vitamin D for the over 50s
Health Canada, the Federal department responsible for the health of the Canadian people, has recently published a new Food Guide.

Not surprisingly, the Guide contains dietary guidelines encouraging Canadians to eat vegetables, fruit and whole grains, to limit their consumption of foods high in calories, fat, sugar and salt, and promotes the virtues of physical exercise.

Of particular interest to the dietary supplement industry is the fact that the new Guide also recommends all Canadians over 50 to take a daily Vitamin D supplement.

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