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February 27, 2006
Self-regulation on the way in South Africa?
The Health Products Association of South Africa is planning to launch a form of self-regulation for the industry while the Department of Health is still processing draft regulations for complementary medicine. The health industry believes that urgent proactive steps are required to protect itself and its consumers from certain operators who are taking advantage of the current regulatory limbo.
The HPA is conducting strategic planning workshops for self-regulation in conjunction with continued negotiations with the Department of Health to establish appropriate legal regulations. Self-regulation will need the full co-operation of the Advertising Standards Authority and the Department of Health and discussions are already taking place with them.
A roll-out programme and time frame for self-regulation is to be established at HPA?s next strategic meeting, to be held shortly.
Derogations may be possible for food supplements
Until January 31, 2009, the authorities of the European Union Member States may provide derogations for vitamins and minerals and their forms not included in the Food Supplements Directive, as long as the following conditions are fulfilled:
The substance in question was used in food supplements marketed in the Community prior to July 12, 2002
The European Food Safety Authority has not given an unfavourable opinion in respect of the use of the substance.
The European Commission?s Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection (DG Sanco) has now updated its web page with a list of competent authorities on food supplements. Further details can be found on http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/food/labellingnutrition/supplements/index_en.htm
Food supplement dossiers submitted to EFSA
To see an updated list of dossiers for food supplement ingredients seeking EFSA?s approval before being added to the Annexes of the Food Supplements Directive, click here.
Australia & New Zealand
Food Agency to seek comment on mandatory fortification
Following the development of a Policy Guideline on Fortification with Vitamins and Minerals by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is currently considering two proposals for mandatory fortification with folic acid and iodine to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects and iodine deficiency.
The Ministerial Council has asked FSANZ to accord these proposals high priority and, in progressing them, FSANZ will establish expert groups to advise on the public health and medical aspects of neural tube defects and of iodine deficiency.
It is expected that Draft Assessment Reports on the proposals will be released for public comment in the second half of this year with final recommendations being made late this year or in early 2007.
The Food Standards Agency has recently passed its final nutrient profiling model to the broadcasting regulator OFCOM, which will now consider how it can be used to restrict broadcast advertising of foods high in salt, fat and sugar to children.
At the European level, in the Spring of this year the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is planning to hold a public hearing on nutrient profiling. Restrictive measures, similar to those in the FSA model, are contained in the proposed European Union Health Claims Regulation — a particular concern for manufacturers of conventional foods.
Recall for products containing chaparral
Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have issued a warning to consumers not to use oral products containing chaparral because of serious health/safety issues.
Importers have been asked to stop importing foods containing chaparral, retailers to remove products from their shelves, and trade associations to notify their members.
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