Italian authorities have delayed the implementation of stricter limits on the sale of melatonin in nutritional supplements until the end of the year.
Earlier this year the Italian Ministry of Health cut the maximum allowed level of melatonin in nutritional supplements from 5mg per day to 1mg per day - citing EFSA health claims approvals and the fact that 2mg doses are approved for medical uses as reasons for the move.
The deadline for ending sales of melatonin supplements in doses over 1mg had initialy been the end of September - however a last minute change of tack means that the sale of melatonin in levels of up to 5mg will be allowed until December 31st.
All companies in Italy now have a further three more months to sell products with levels between 1 mg and 5 mg before the ban limiting sales to 1mg will be active.
Commenting on the situation, Luca Bucchini PhD, managing director of Hylobates Consulting told NutraIngredients that while the decision to extend the deadline is 'sensible', the announcement made only a only a few days before the original deadline was "certainly not ideal."
"Postponing a deadline at the eleventh hour is not ideal as companies may have already recalled or destroyed products; yet, the decision should be appreciated as the original deadline was very tight, without any real justification," said Bucchini.