Sports nutrition regulation has improved but is still uncertain: ESSNA

By Emma Jane Cash

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags Sports nutrition European union European specialist sports nutrition alliance

Regulation for sports nutrition has had a long and winding road over the last decade but there are still issues that need addressing, says European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) vice-chair Stuart Shotton ahead of his talk at Vitafoods 2017 in a few weeks.
© Vitafoods

ESSNA are an organisation who ensure the development of an appropriate and balanced regulatory framework for marketing.

During its five meetings per year, the organisation addresses issues of non-compliant products and supports the continued independent scientific research into sports nutrition.

Shotton's talk will focus on the last ten years of sports nutrition regulation, as well as forecasting the future for the EU.

"The main message will be that ESSNA strongly welcomes the gradual move of EU policy-makers towards liberalising regulations around sports nutrition, a move that culminated last June in the European Commission report acknowledging that sports nutrition should be regulated as any other general food is. In amongst this good news story, however, will be a warning that there are issues that need addressing," ​he said.

These issues include mutual recognition of products between EU Member States and the working of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (NHCR), he added.

Shotton continued to say that EU regulation is an issue at the very core of what ESSNA does and should be of interest for every single company associated with sports nutrition.

Since the 2003 European Commission proposal for a tightly-drawn, restrictive sports nutrition regulation, the world of sports nutrition has changed dramatically and Shotton says for the better.

2016 saw the EU Commission give its opinion that sports nutrition is a food no different to any other and should be regulated as such.

"EU policy-makers have gradually come to realise that this rapidly growing, rapidly innovating sector is an asset to be encouraged rather than a problem to be managed,"​ Shotton said.

"Of course we have our issues with various bits of regulation here and there - not just in Brussels but in individual Member States too - but on the whole the past decade has been a positive story for the sports nutrition sector".


Shotton says ESSNA's contribution and its influential voice have played a role in this.

However, sports nutrition regulation is not solid just yet as political uncertainty - especially due to Brexit - could have a major affect on the industry.

Shotton says ESSNA are working closely with their members to ensure a positive outcome.

"For companies across Europe, how, when and in what mood Britain leaves the EU will be something that they need to follow closely and adjust themselves accordingly,"​ he said.

"Within ESSNA we have started canvassing for member views and concerns so as to better understand how we can represent our members and help them navigate Britain's departure with as little disruption as possible".

Vitafoods will take place in Geneva next month, at the Palexpo. This will be the 21st year the global nutriceutical event has run.

Shotton says he is excited to have the chance to talk at the event.

"It's a great chance to tell attendees at one of the biggest food shows in Europe what it is that ESSNA does and how we represent the sports nutrition sector," ​he said, "I'm looking forwarding to seeing again my fellow ESSNA members there and maybe even meeting some new ones," ​he said.

You can catch Stuart Shotton and ESSNA, among others, at Vitafoods​ in Geneva, 9-11 May.

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