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Natural vitamin E market bouncing back

Fears that strict new genetically modified organisms traceability laws would wipe out Europe?s market for natural-source vitamin E are proving unfounded as suppliers rise to the challenge of delivering non-GM versions to market.

The laws, enacted last April, caught many suppliers off guard. Cognis temporarily had to break supply before making available a small amount of natural source vitamin E, at a significant premium, and only to select customers. Leading supplier ADM ceased trade in the ingredient until this year as it struggled to source the necessary stocks — most of which come from soybean oils.

Both ADM and Cognis, along with smaller players, are now increasing supply. They have also put in place the necessary traceability mechanisms to guarantee the non-GM identity of natural-source vitamin E. As a result, the vitamin E supplements market, where most of the ingredients end up, is resuming something approaching its former status.

While some supplements manufacturers such as UK-based Seven Seas have, according to a company spokesperson, ?made the transference to synthetic vitamin E,? others are pleased that a valuable market has not been lost after all.

UK-based supplements company Viridian has resumed trade in its vitamin E product after a self-imposed suspension due to its refusal to use GM-sourced or synthetic vitamin E. ?We?re delighted to have it back on the shelves because we were completely without vitamin E for about nine months,? said Cheryl Thallon, Viridian?s co-owner and director. ?We?ve brought back our vitamin E supplement but haven?t put vitamin E into our multivitamin at this stage as we want to make sure the supply is 100 per cent consistent.?

Solgar UK?s technical manager, Paul Chamberlain, said the supplements manufacturer had been willing to go out of stock rather than go synthetic — a situation it has not had to face since it has secured long-term supplies of both dry and liquid natural source, non-GM vitamin E. ?Our consumers are too educated to go down the synthetic route,? he said. ?The situation should only get better as everyone gets to grips with the methodologies and paper trails required by this legislation.?

A spokesperson for synthetic vitamin E supplier BASF noted little change in demand since the law changes.

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