New motion to keep vitamins on UK market

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food supplements directive, United kingdom

A new push is being made in the House of Commons to ensure
supplements containing higher doses of nutrients than those set by
the EU Food Supplements Directive remain available on the UK

A commons motion has been tabled by opposition health spokesperson Stephen O'Brien and has the backing of 22 members of parliament, cross-parties.

It draws attention to the continuing concern that the directive could have an impact on consumer choice in vitamins and minerals, and "urges the government to move fast to adopt and implement a co-ordinated strategy for the achievement of their objectives".

The FSA recommended in September that health ministers should advocate a two tier risk assessment approach, which would enable maximum safe levels to be established across member states but permit additional guidance levels to be agreed on a national basis.

The Food Supplements Directive came into effect last August, but Brussels has yet to set maximum levels of vitamins and minerals allowed in supplements for all 25 EU member states.

A proposal from the Commission is expected this year with a view to adoption in 2007. But the industry is expecting them to be lower than many of those found on the more liberal supplements markets like the UK and Netherlands.

One possible route forward could be to add advisory statements about high doses on product labels. Such statements already appear on some products following safety concerns about some vitamin doses raised by a 2003 report - a move that has been said to demonstrate the feasibility of such a practice.

The FSA has stressed the importance of taking a scientific approach to doseage levels.

Related topics: Vitamins & premixes

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