Norway seek to amend rules governing vitamin and mineral addition to foods

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

The Norwegian Food Authority has put forward draft regulations to amend and simnplify current legislation overseeing the addition of vitamins, minerals and certain other substances to foods.

The drafts propose a simplification of the rules, in which businesses are able to add vitamins, minerals and certain substances to foodstuffs included in a special list without applying for individual applications or permits. The authority states that if a business wishes to include additions beyond those indicated in this “positive list,”​ then that business must report the relevant addition to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

In reference to the reports — received by the European Commission last week — the authority said, “This promotes similar conditions for all businesses, while maintaining the same level of consumer protection.”

The first report​, which concerns the addition of additives, vitamins, minerals and flavourings to food, looks to amend and replace provisions relating to the addition of vitamins and minerals to foods in Chapter II of the Norwegian Regulation No 247 of 26 February 2010.

According to Section 3 of the draft regulation, it would be permitted to add vitamins and minerals to foods in accordance with the "maximum" ​values specified in the “positive list​” in Annex 1.

These are deemed safe by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority based on safety assessments performed by the country’s Scientific Committee for Food and Environment and by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Notification by a food business operator to the Authority of vitamins or minerals to foods not on the list would be given an extension of six months after the notification was submitted.

Orkla Health feedback

In an impact assessment in which the draft regulation was subject to national public consultation, Nordic food supplement supplier Orkla Health drew attention to the minimum and maximum vitamin and mineral range allowed.

During production, a vitamin/mineral mixture is often used (premix) that is common to many products and based on the lowest permitted quantities,”​ they said in a response​ dated June 15th​, 2018.

“When other ingredients in the product also contribute with a natural content of vitamins and/or minerals, in certain cases it may be difficult to keep below the suggested maximum limit.

“Today we have products on the market that contain suggested maximum level of respectively vitamin K, selenium and iron as a result of contributions from natural ingredients.

“We therefore want to emphasize that the maximum limits in the regulation must be based safety assessments for the individual vitamin and minerals and not on applications from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority have received and approved.”

‘Other substance’ draft legislation

The second report​ provides further detail on the Authority’s meaning of "other substances​", where the draft regulation only applies to the addition of these substances” to foods “that have a purity of at least 50% or are concentrated 40 times or more.”

The definition is also interpreted to mean substances that “are not normally consumed as a food in themselves and not normally used as an ingredient in foods”. 

In a similar vein to the first report, maximum values must not be exceeded and only substances specified in the “positive list”​ are permitted.

Rules governing the notification of the Authority by a food business operator of its intention to include a substance not on the list would also be given an extension of six months after the notification was submitted.

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