Twenty regulators from across Central America and the Caribbean met in Costa Rica last month to debate evolving food supplement regulation globally, regionally and nationally.
The officials, from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and the Central American Economic Integration System (SIECA), many of which are in the process of developing food supplement regulations, discussed regulatory issues such as the classification, definition and safety food supplements.
Organized by the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA), the ‘Central American and the Caribbean Workshop on Food Supplement Regulation’ took place on 27 April in San José.
“The workshop was an opportunity for the regulators to share the challenges that they face when evaluating food supplement products,” said IADSA Chair Peter Zambetti. “Many countries in the region do not have specific laws in place for food supplements, or are in the process of developing their regulations. At the workshop there was strong emphasis on the need to ensure the safety and quality of food supplements and the establishment of a system to control food supplement products on their respective markets.”
John Venardos, Member of the IADSA Company Council, added: “IADSA is pleased to have facilitated this discussion, and will continue to encourage the sharing of scientific and technical information, as well as the experience of governments, regionally and internationally, towards the development and sustainability of appropriate food supplement regulation.”
Other aspects discussed at the workshop-included science based risk assessment to set upper levels; issues relating to communicating the benefits of supplements; ensuring quality of products: Good Manufacturing Practices, and market access and control of food supplement products.
“There was broad agreement among all who attended on a need to develop specific regulation for food supplements both at national and regional level, taking into consideration the latest regulatory and scientific trends in relation to food supplements and their ingredients,” said David Pineda, IADSA Director of Regulatory Affairs. “At present, in Central America only Costa Rica has developed a regulation for food supplements, which came into force in March this year.”
Speakers at the workshop, which was chaired by Mr Venardos, included Orlando Rodríguez Baltodano from Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health; Tatiana Pires, Coordinator of the Dietary Supplements Working Group in the Brazilian Association of the Foods for Special Uses Industry (ABIAD); Dr Vasilios Frankos, former Director of the Division of Dietary Supplement Programs at the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition; Virginia Hill and Norma Cavazos from IADSA’s Latin American Working Group; Dr John Hathcock, Senior Vice President of Scientific and International Affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, and IADSA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, David Pineda Ereño.
The regulators at the workshop also took part in panel discussions. They were: from Costa Rica Alejandra Chaverri Esquivel, Regulation Unit, Directorate for Health Regulation, Ministry of Health, and Nidia Morera, Head of Services Platform Unit, Directorate of Customer Services, Ministry of Health; from Guatemala Ana Beatriz Cordero, Head of Sanitary Authorizations, Regulation and Control of Pharmaceutical and Related Products Department, Ministry of Health, and Mirna Morfin, Sanitary Authorizations, Ministry of Health; from Panama Dr Giselle Candanedo Córdoba, Food Protection Department, Ministry of Health, and Uriel Pérez, Head of Post-registration Department, National Directorate of Pharmacies and Drugs, Ministry of Health; from Jamaica Kiziah Christie-Virgo, Scientific Officer, Pharmaceutical and Regulatory Affairs Department, Ministry of Health; from Honduras Dr Mariela Girón Cano, Coordinator of Food Regulation, and Dr María Magdalena Martínez, Coordinator of Sanitary Regulations, and Enrique Sabillón Portillo, Director General of Food Regulation; and from El Salvador Marta Cea Flores, Deputy Secretary, Public Health Superior Council, and Jose Luis Reyes Zelaya, Head of Pharmaceutical Specialties Unit, Public Health Superior Council.
For more information about the workshop or to download the programme visit www.iadsa.org