US prompts EFSA to review safety of vitamin D and calcium

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

US prompts EFSA to review safety of vitamin D and calcium

Related tags: Vitamin d

The safety and upper safe levels (USLs) for vitamin D and calcium will be reviewed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) following a US-prompted request from the European Commission.


A Commission spokesperson said the review was called for in the light of recent scientific work conducted in the US by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in November, 2010, that set calcium USLs of between 2000 and 2500 for most adults, and 4000IU for vitamin D.

In its scientific review and establishment of levels, the IOM said its, exhaustive review of studies on potential health outcomes … found that the evidence supported a role for these nutrients in bone health but not in other health conditions. Overall, the committee concludes that the majority of Americans and Canadians are receiving adequate amounts of both calcium and vitamin D. Further, there is emerging evidence that too much of these nutrients may be harmful.”

“The Commission has asked the Authority to re-evaluate the safety in use of vitamin D and calcium and, if necessary, to provide revised tolerable upper intake levels (UL) for these nutrients for all relevant population groups,”​ the EC spokesperson said.

EFSA’s precursor, the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) issued USL opinions for calcium and for vitamin D in April 2003, and December 2002, respectively.

Lactoferrin, astaxanthin

EFSA has also been asked by the EC to review the safety of lactoferrin and astaxanthin as part of Novel Foods applications, another spokesperson said.

He said these reviews were a routine aspect of the Novel Foods approval process, and has an official timeframe of three months, although stop-the-clock procedures mean such reviews often take longer.

Currently lactoferrin and astaxanthin are only approved for use in the EU in food supplements, not foods.

The astaxanthin application comes from Spanish firm Euroandina Importers Acianas while there are two lactoferrin applications from DSM and Japanese dairy, Morinaga Milk.

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