Debate on EU vitamins and minerals picks up pace at EHPM/ERNA conference

The quest to establish EU-wide agreement on maximum levels for vitamins and minerals took a step forward last week when more than 100 stakeholders convened in Brussels to debate the issue.

Leading food industry and food supplement representatives as well as key EU member states and Commission officials from across Europe came together on Friday, November 24, to discuss matters arising from the European Commission’s discussion paper in this area earlier this year. The conference, jointly organised by the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM) and the European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA), was held in response to both the Food Supplement Directive adopted in 2002, which created a Europe-wide framework for marketing food supplements, and the recently adopted addition of nutrients regulation.

There was general consensus on a number of points including the principles for risk management, the need for a case-by-case approach based on the safety of nutrients, and the need to ensure consumer choice.

The European Commission indicated that it has no intention of restricting vitamin and mineral levels where there is no safety concern and said that all input from stakeholders will be carefully considered.

Peter van Doorn, chairman of EHPM, said: “We have come a long way since the issue of food supplements was first addressed in 1989, and I am positive that we are now very close to agreement on setting the final piece of the puzzle for vitamins and minerals.”

A key area of debate involved a report on the feedback from the recent Commission Discussion paper, which highlighted a broad consensus by interested stakeholders on some of the key questions raised by the Commission. Further discussion, however, would be needed on certain specific nutrients as well as on the harmonisation of scientific input and further data intake collection. Other issues included how to address remaining scientific uncertainties in setting levels and the legal requirements from EU and WTO obligations that member states and the Commission will have to follow.

Gert Krabichler, Chairman of ERNA, said: “The forthcoming debate between the Commission and members states will require thinking beyond national boundaries, and I believe that by working together we can achieve a market where both safety and choice are guaranteed.”

The Commission will issue its proposal on EU vitamin and mineral levels by the end of 2007.

For further information, please contact:

Lorène Courrège, Director Regulatory Affairs, EHPM

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: + 32 2 209 11 45

Patrick Coppens, Secretary General, ERNA

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: + 32 2 209 11 50

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