European sports nutrition sector calls for end to 'decade-long regulatory limbo'

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

European sports nutrition sector calls for end to regulatory limbo

Related tags: Sports nutrition, European union, European commission

The European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) says there is no need for separate sports products regulation as general food law is sufficient, ahead of a European Commission report on the matter due within two years.

ESSNA vice-chair Suzane Leser told us, sport nutrition can be adequately regulated within general food legislation provided appropriate adaptations are made.”

Leser reiterated the group’s position at the recent 5th​ International Fresenius Conference in Mainz,Germany, where she welcomed recent changes in specialised food laws (PARNUTS) in the European Union.

“The European Parliament’s vote is very encouraging, but we must recognise that the European Commission’s report will have enormous implications for sports nutrition products and consumers. The next two years will be crucial.”

“Any delay will leave the industry and its customers in limbo and draw out what has already been a decade-long debate.”

This week she answered some of our questions.

What engagement do you expect with authorities?

“The European Commission will be compiling the report, but the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will be asked for scientific advice/opinion. The Commission will prepare a mandate for EFSA with the specific technical questions to which EFSA will need to give a response.

Before doing so, however, the Commission has indicated that it will analyse the market for sports nutrition products to see how the market has evolved in past years, what sorts of products are currently on the market, and the different consumers categories.

ESSNA will engage with this report and is already liaising with key stakeholders, including the EC. We will prepare our position papers on the mandate to EFSA and our views on the sports nutrition market across Europe.”


What is the best outcome for the sector?

“ESSNA welcomes this report on sports nutrition as it gives an opportunity to address certain outstanding issues of importance to the sector, including appropriate recognition of the specific nutritional needs of sports people within general food legislation and the proper functioning of the internal market.

ESSNA also thinks that the issue of specific legislation for sports nutrition products should be closed once for all.”

What issues are causing the most concern?

“We think that sport nutrition can be adequately regulated within general food legislation provided appropriate adaptations are made – so that the specific nutritional needs of sports people are recognised. A key issue for ESSNA is also the proper functioning of the internal market, an issue that will need to be addressed by the Commission.”

What practical steps do you take to ensure your input is given maximum exposure?

“ESSNA is actively engaging with this report working internally with its members but also liaising with all key stakeholders within the EU institutions, and other EU trade and consumer bodies.

As the image of the sports nutrition sector acrossEuropeis currently a key issue,  we engage in policing and media activities – to ensure that policy makers and consumers have a better perception and understanding of the sector.”

ESSNA was formed in 2003. Members include Carbery, First Milk, Iovate Health Sciences, Mass Nutrition Kostexperten, Maxinutrition Ltd,, NSF, US Nutrition Ltd, Volac, WeiderGermany, Glanbia Performance Nutrition and PhD Nutrition.

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