Soft enforcement of EU vitamin ban legislation urged

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union Anh

Industry representatives are urging soft enforcement of pending regulation that amends the EU Supplements Directive of 2002 and bans the sale of any vitamin and mineral not on a new approval list.

UK advocates, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), said that as of 1 January 2010 hundreds of products that have been selling freely in the UK and elsewhere will be banned under the amendment to Annex 1 and II of the Directive 2002/46/EC.

According to Dr Robert Verkerk, executive and scientific director of ANH, if strict rather than soft enforcement of the new regulation takes place the result will be an immediate recall of stock not on the positive list, which will place a major burden on the UK industry in terms of cost.

He told this morning that the ANH received communication from Colin Clifford of the UK Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) enforcement division yesterday which stated that enforcement of the ban will take place from 1 January but that it would be ‘proportionate'.

“Clarity is needed on this statement for manufacturers and retailers as many products were either in the pipeline or had at least a two year shelf life from date of manufacture and only received negative opinions from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) subsequent to their manufacture,”​ added Verkerk.

He said the ANH is seeking a transition period to enable banned vitamin or minerals to be sold for the duration of their shelf life.

“There is no risk to human health from leaving deregated forms of vitamins and minerals on the market a bit longer but the cost to retailers and wholesalers, who are already operating on tight margins, of having to instigate immediate withdrawal of those products will be significant​,” added Verkerk.

The ANH has been making appeals to industry to get serious about submitting further dossiers including safety and bioavailability data for many of the ingredients that will be lost from next month.

Dossiers for vitamin and mineral sources which do not appear in the Food Supplements Directive following its amendment can be submitted at any time.

“We also need to see much more transparency and a level playing field in the evaluation process used by EFSA, as well as the way in which opinions are interpreted by the European Commission and member states,” ​he added.

A comment from the FSA was sought but was not forthcoming in time for publication.

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