Outlining its food safety ‘policy orientations’ for 2016, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) said it would be focusing on the safety of joint health supplements containing glucosamine and/or chondroitin as well as supplements containing the algae, spirulina.
The authority began working on the joint health investigation last year following reports of liver and endocrine damage through its nutrivigilance monitoring system, which enables health professionals to submit reports of adverse effects.
A spokesperson told us at the time ANSES was investigating whether such products should be kept on the French market – an opinion due by the end of this year.
It is unclear what sparked the spirulina investigation.
Meanwhile the authority will also be looking at the risks related to energy drinks this year following an internal request.
Last year the authority continued its investigation of potential risks of taking vitamin and mineral supplements during pregnancy following reports of two abortions on medical grounds.
“The severity of the effects, affecting vulnerable populations (pregnant women and newborns), and the occasionally high causality led ANSES to issue an internal request in order to assess the risks associated with the intake of vitamins and minerals during pregnancy,” the agency said.
ANSES continued work on an opinion on food supplements for athletes for muscular development and body fat reduction. The investigation was spurred by 11 ‘admissible’ reports, mainly concerning cardiovascular (tachycardia, arrhythmia, stroke) and neurological (tremor, anxiety disorders, dizziness) issues.
This work is ongoing.
Between 2010 and 2014, ANSES received 1565 cases of adverse effects through its nutrivigilance scheme, 76% of which related to food supplements.