UK food supplements lobby group, Consumers for Health Choice (CHC), has launched a new campaign to keep maximum permitted levels (MPL) for food supplements in UK hands.
CHC opposes European Union harmonisation measures that have been on and off the EU political agenda in the years leading up to and since the 2002 EU Food Supplements Directive (FSD) became active.
The new Save Our Supplements (SoS) campaign has a heavy social media presence and seeks signatures for an anti-MPL revision petition to be sent to UK members of parliament and members of the European Parliament. As of today, the petition had about 277,000 signatures.
The campaign includes a leaflet campaign in 650 Holland & Barrett health food stores.
In the UK parliament, bipartisan support has been won from the likes of conservative MP Marcus Jones; Kate Hoey (Labour) and Dr John Pugh (Liberal Democrat). Nutritionists like Patrick Holford and celebrities like Jenny Seagrove and Dame Judi Dench have backed the campaign.
Levels of control
Previously Dr Pugh told us the campaign was not about, “protecting strange Bulgarian recipes of doubtful providence in an open market.”
“There needs to be some sort of control but the level of control and the type of control exercised by the EU in this case seems to be pointless and damaging to the interests of consumer choice and health food store owners in the UK.”
CHC says 4000 jobs would be lost and 700 independent health food stores closed if the EU harmonisation measures became reality.
Products like vitamin C that can be sold at levels of around 1000mg per capsule could see new limits closer to 100mg.
The campaign has been renewed as the EU has a new health commissioner, Tonio Borg. His predecessor John Dalli effectively said the MPL issue was a not a priority under his administration. Borg’s position is as yet unclear.
“…over-regulation gone mad…”
Hoey, Jones and Dr Pugh issued a statement that said in part: “This is over-regulation gone mad and it is only right that consumers should keep up the pressure so that their right to choose is not sacrificed on the altar of market harmonisation in Europe.
“Consumers for Health Choice have done a fantastic job in making the humble vitamin pill a matter of national and international political importance. This campaign will make sure the matter remains high on the political agenda.”
Questions have also been introduced officially into the UK parliament.
CHC Chairman Mike Peet added: “We have been successfully campaigning against the introduction of unnecessary EU restrictions since 1997. The response to our petition has been phenomenal but we need continued support to keep the pressure on the UK parliament and in Europe.”
“We’re urging everyone who believes they have the right to access a wide range of vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal remedies, to.pledge their support and sign our petition – it really is in your hands.”