IADSA to focus on advocacy and emerging markets regulation

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Codex alimentarius

Regulatory harmonisation in Asian and Latin American countries coupled with tight monitoring of media content on dietary supplements to offset negative opinion will continue to be the focus of the international food supplements body in 2010.

The International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) is set to hold its annual meeting next week, with a new board and chairman expected to be elected at the event in Turkey.

And IADSA's Brussels-based director of regulatory affairs, David Pineda, reviewing the high points for the association in 2009, said that the adoption of the Codex scientific risk analysis principles and the initiation of the IADSA scientific alert system were the most significant.

He said the monitoring programme aims to disseminate positive media reports but also evaluate and pinpoint weaknesses in more negative content, and it was the outcome of a concerted effort to allocate greater resources to scientific work and more effective advocacy and communication methods.

“Such an advocacy system was sought by our members for a long time and it was ushered in by the current chairman, Byron Johnson, who wanted to develop the communication techniques of IADSA and build its scientific network to bring its messages to more regulators and decision makers across the world," ​said Pineda.

In this respect, an ad-hoc group of scientists publish a draft publication annually, with an overview on vitamin D delivered last year.

He told NutraIngreidents.com that, depending on the level of funding available, regulation and efficacy of botanicals may be the focus of this year’s draft paper. “This is a pressing issue for our members and an area of the industry long under scrutiny by regulators and governments so greater clarity is needed,”​ explained Pineda.

Women’s health is also on the radar for the group. A final decision on the focus of this year’s scientific document will be taken at the association’s scientific forum in China before the summer, he added.

Most of its 58 member associations are European and the European industry but Pineda said the body has a growing presence in Asia and Latin America and IADSA has been heavily involved in programmes in those regions.

And he said that the speed of progress in terms of achieving regulatory harmony in food supplements across the 10-country Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is so fast paced that a first draft of harmonisation legislation is expected at the end of 2010.

IADSA has also been collaborating with the Mercosur countries in Latin America, which is composed of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, as well as trade associations in Mexico, Columbia and Peru, continued Pineda.

“While harmonisation is a long way off in that region we have initiated discussion with the various groups and identified particular concerns that mirror those elsewhere such as the need to use RDA as the basis for MPLs in supplements versus the scientific risk assessment approach, and general distribution problems, in addition to health claims and botanicals​,” said Pineda.

IADSA was formed in 1998 and its 58 national trade associations represent more than 20,000 companies.

The Belgian headquartered group is an accredited international non-governmental organization (INGO) and has provided influential input into international rule-making bodies such as the United Nations food regulations arm, the Codex Alimentarius.

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