Don’t panic over maximum VMS levels, says ERNA

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food supplements European union Nutrition Ec

The European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA) says there is little cause for concern about the European Commission’s position on maximum permitted levels (MPLs) for vitamins and minerals in food supplements and functional foods across the bloc.

Responding to UK Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) warnings published on NutraIngredients yesterday, ERNA chairman, Gert Krabichler, said there had been no indication the EC had changed its position on the subject

“We believe there are no indications that the EC has changed its position,”​ Krabichler said.

“It continues to base the levels it will propose on the models developed by ERNA for food supplements and by Professor Albert Flynn [of EFSA] for fortified foods. These levels would allow a liberal range of food supplements on the market for consumers to choose from.”

HFMA chairman John Redman told NutraIngredients a recent meeting between UK-based healthy food retailer, Holland & Barrett and Robert Madelin, the director general of the EC’s DG Sanco​ Health & Consumer Protection, had indicated the EC was shifting to an ultra-conservative position on MPLs and threatening 100s of high-dose products in the UK and elsewhere in the process.

Safety first

The levels recommended by ERNA have been generally well-received by the EC, but groups like the HFMA and companies like Holland & Barrett are concerned for high-dose supplements that are commonplace on the UK and other markets.

It is this fact that may explain the difference of opinion between ERNA and the HFMA. But the idea of MPLs based on safety rather than Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) is shared by both groups.

“Our model and the one developed by Professor Flynn for fortified foodstuffs, both based upon actual intake data, show that for some nutrients there are no safety concerns at all and maximum levels do not even need to be established while for many others high MPLs are perfectly safe,”​ Krabichler said.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has established Upper Tolerable Intake Levels (UL) for safe consumption of particular nutrients on a daily basis.

“We sincerely hope that the EC proposal that will come out, possibly in February, will propose maximum levels in coherence with the models and that Member States will be able to accept a safety-based approach based on real intake data and not on theoretical assumptions,”​ Krabichler added.

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