The International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) recently hosted a conference in Santiago, Chile, to discuss the science behind food supplements and the impact of future regulatory trends on companies and markets active in the region.
Scientists, government officials and trade associations from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, the EU and a host of other states discussed key regulatory developments, at the first ever meeting where Latin American government members presented their respective regulatory models.
An IADSA spokeswoman told NutraIngredient.com that one theme stemming from the conference is that Latin America is a challenging market for food supplement firms developing and marketing products, given regional variations surrounding the definitions of food supplements, and criteria for maximum levels of vitamins and minerals.
She said: “Harmonisation is a major challenge. For instance, in Brazil ‘supplements’ are defined as vitamins and minerals, but don’t include substances such as botanical bioactives, while other markets in the region may include them.”
David Pineda, IADSA director of regulatory affairs told this site in February that other issues in the Mercosur countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, as well as Mexico, Columbia and Peru, included “RDAs as the basis for MPLs in supplements versus the scientific risk assessment approach, and general distribution problems, in addition to health claims and botanicals”.
But IADSA chair Peter Zambetti was optimistic about the future: “The conference demonstrated that, while there continue to be many different approaches to regulating dietary supplements, the principles that form the basis of these are increasingly consistent around the world.”
“IADSA will build on this conference by encouraging further detailed discussions at national level towards achieving the best regulatory frameworks.”
ASEAN forges ahead
In terms of IADSA’s wider work, the spokeswoman said that the NGO continued to “work hard for harmonisation,” and said progress in the 10-country ASEAN region had been swift.
“A lot of work has been done in the ASEAN region over the past six years, although we are not sure how long harmonisation will take. But countries have come together quickly in Southeast Asia, whereas Latin American harmonisation will perhaps take longer.”
IADSA was formed in 1998 and its more than 50 national trade associations represents more than 20,000 companies; although they are mainly EU-based, the body has a growing presence in Asia and Latin America, where it is involved in regional programmes.
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.