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European Union member states block adoption of supplements directive

Brussels, Belgium: Disagreements about the role of food supplementation continue to hamper the progress of the European Supplements Directive, a mammoth attempt to harmonise supplement legislation across the European Union which was formally adopted as a proposal in May 2000. The industry had hoped the directive would achieve Common Position stage at Member State level in late May—which could have seen the Directive entering into law before the end of the year—but this is unlikely now that the current proposals have been blocked by Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Spain, France and Greece.

These countries continue to insist on the importance of the Population Reference Intake (PRI), (formerly known as the Recommended Daily Amount, or RDA), when setting the Upper Safe Levels (USL) of vitamins and minerals. Other countries, including the UK, see safety as the only valid criterion when setting USLs.

Such differing points of view largely reflect current national legislation on supplements across the European Union, with some countries regarding any vitamin or mineral dose above the PRI as medicinal. The UK has one of the most liberal supplement regimes in the European Union.

The directive proposals will return to the Council of Member States for further discussion on September 27, but the directive will not now enter into law before 2002.

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