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In Brief

UK backs vitamin exceptions
The UK Food Standards Agency has backed the principle whereby the United Kingdom can accept food supplements at higher levels than those set by the European Union provided that they carry appropriate advisory statements on their labels.

Its board agreed that the ?preferred option is a two-tier risk assessment approach enabling maximum safe levels to be established on a European Commission basis and permitting additional guidance levels to be agreed on a national basis.?

One UK-based lobbyist commented: ?UK negotiators must now convince the EC and a majority of other member states to back the UK position. This is a ray of hope. We must not let it become a false dawn.?

More salt still ?healthy?
The Food and Drug Administration has announced it will allow higher levels of sodium in foods seeking a ?healthy? designation than previously allowed. Prior to 1998, foods could use the word ?healthy? on their labels if they contained up to 480mg of sodium, or 600mg if they were main dish or meal products. Since 1998, ?healthy? foods haven?t been able to exceed 360mg and 480mg, respectively. The pre-1998 levels are set to be reinstated.

?Comments from both industry and consumer advocates support the conclusion that implementing the (tighter) sodium requirements would risk substantially eliminating existing ?healthy? products from the marketplace because of unattainable nutrient requirements or undesirable and, thus, unmarketable flavour profiles,? the agency noted in its rule.

Another agency, the Department of Agriculture, released its most recent guidelines in April, recommending adults limit sodium intake to 2,300mg daily.

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