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UK group warns of supplement lobbying toward new MEPs

By Shane Starling+

25-Aug-2014

UK supplements group, Consumers for Health Choice (CHC), is targeting newly elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in a campaign to raise awareness around still-up-for-grabs maximum permitted limits (MPLs) for vitamins and minerals in food supplements in the EU.

“Following the elections in May 2014, over 50% of the incoming European parliament is made up of new MEPs,” the group said.

“These MEPs are susceptible to the lobbying of those groups representing big multinational firms who wish to see vitamin and mineral supplements banned.”

The group has put together a toolkit to help its members in its lobbying efforts that includes a draft letter to MEPs.

The letter says in part: To date, there have been some tentative attempts to bring proposals forward to set these levels but these attempts have ended in the face of strong opposition from CHC and our supporters in Brussels.”

“Prior to this year’s European Parliamentary election, however, there was a renewed push to set these levels backed primarily by large multinational corporations.”

“These companies are exerting pressure for harmonised levels to be implemented at all costs so that they can increase their sales of products across the EU, increase their profit margins and end the competition posed by many small, specialist businesses. That this will dramatically reduce consumer choice is of little concern to them.”

Lobbying divide

About half of the 700+ MEPs are freshly elected after elections in May this year.

“Consumers now have the chance to ensure that their MEP is well-informed enough to resist the lines of slick corporate lobbyists such as Food Supplements Europe (FSE),” said CHC director of strategy Chris Whitehouse.

Time is of the essence here – politics resumes in Brussels in earnest in September, and if the public acts before then they have taken a great step towards preserving their choice in safe, higher-potency vitamin and mineral supplements.”

Establishing MPLs was written into the 2002 EU Food Supplements Directive (FSD) but has stalled many times as corum has proved impossible to achieve across the EU's 28 member states.

Groups like CHC would prefer for MPLs to remain non-harmonised.

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