Herbalife: EU botanical solution “multiple years” away

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Hobby: Harmonised EU-wide herbal rules may be years away
Hobby: Harmonised EU-wide herbal rules may be years away

Related tags: European union

The European Commission decision last week to remove botanicals from the nutrition and health claim process for further review has been welcomed by the botanicals and broader supplements sector.

Ric Hobby, the vice president of worldwide regulatory, government and industry affairs at supplements manufacturer Herbalife tells Shane Starling why the EC decision was so necessary to open dialogue about the best treatment of a tricky category.

“We new when the regulation came out in 2006 that there were many inadequacies in the legal text and of course we now see that the EC is trying to pragmatic solutions,”​ Hobby said after a recent European Health Claims Alliance conference in Brussels.

Hobby noted botanicals were the easiest category to remove from the process due to a lack oh harmonisation across the 27-member European Union bloc, and predicted any solution was “multiple number of years”​ away.

“This is a good move,”​ he said. “The Commission has acted wisely here. The whole sector of botanicals/herbals in Europe today is not regulated so for us to even attempt to regulate the claims for them does not really make sense – it was just one hurdle, one task, that makes the whole regulation too complex.”

“We need to find another solution and all the stakeholders need to be engaged in that. The Commission, member states, consumer organisations and industry particularly to find a solution as to how botanicals should be regulated. There is long tradition in many member states for botanicals/herbals to be regulated as foods and then there are some as medicines so we need to find pragmatic solutions of how we protect all those market places and enable future growth.”

These matters and more will be discussed at the second NutraIngredients Health Claims 2010 conference to be held in Brussels on December 1. The conference will deconstruct the latest article 13.1 claim opinions, hear first-hand experience from players like Kellogg’s, outline regulation-coping marketing strategies, and feature comparison with the US claims system from a key figure there, Andrew Shao, PhD.

For more details click here.

Related topics: Regulation & Policy, Suppliers, Botanicals

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1 comment

Need to strengthen EC capacity to be able to regulate botanicals

Posted by Olajuwon Okubena,

The present impasse is a testimony that the draft law to regulate botanicals by the EC was incompetent and also those who were to implement the law were also incapable. The EC could learn from the regulation in force in the USA for botanical drugs even though it has been impossible to register more than one drug for the over 50 years that the law has been established.

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