In a statement, the association points to a seven-year delay in which the relevant legislation is stuck in limbo as the country’s government battles to find a clear consensus amongst the parties involved.
“The current legislative framework is incomplete, which primarily jeopardises the consumer,” the Association says.
“We need a transparent and predictable legislative framework, a much clearer legislation that leaves no room for interpretation.
“We believe that only a single authority that takes full responsibility for all categories of food supplements, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, as well as a coherent legislative framework can solve all these issues.”
Impact is immediate
Food supplements marketed on the Romanian market are subject to both food law and food supplement legislation.
The dispute concerns the debate the Health and Family Committee of the Chamber of Deputies are having on the Food Supplement Bill PLx468/2012 initiated by the Government in 2012 and sent to Parliament.
The lack of progress in moving the draft law (in Romanian) forwards centres on establishing a unitary legislative framework on food supplements that bring it in line with the standards of Directive 2002/46 / EC.
“The Law on Supplements is a law whose impact is immediately felt in maintaining or increasing the safety of the consumer's health,” the Association continues.
“We hope that the bill, which is in Parliament since 2012, will pass as soon as possible in a form to benefit Romanians.”
Closely related to their grievances, the RASCI also question the grey area that currently governs dietary supplement advertising especially given how reliant consumers were on this marketing as a source of nutrition information.
“Actual misprints in the communication, incomplete, incorrect or misleading information may have a negative impact on consumers who may use the administration or use of non-prescription products or dietary supplements or personal care devices at the expense of their own health,” they said.
Current Romanian legislation dictates that labelling, presentation and advertising of dietary supplements should not include direct claims or induce the idea that a varied and balanced diet cannot provide adequate amounts of nutrients in general.
According to Order no. 1069 of 19 June 2007, the advertising of food supplements should be allowed only after the Public Health Authority of the Ministry of Public Health has endorsed the content of the publicity material and cannot refer to treatments, prevention or diseases.
More complicated are the rules dictating how dietary supplements are marketed. There is the Common Order 1228/2005/244/63/2006 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Rural Development and the Ministry of Public Health amongst other government authorities.
Also relevant is the Common Order 244/401/2005 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Rural Development and of the Ministry of Health.
At both national and European level, many other documents have been adopted regulating the production, labelling and marketing of food supplements, as well as the addition of minerals, vitamins and maximum levels of contaminants.
“As in other areas, we believe it is useful to set up a working group to include representatives of all the parties involved, contributing through their expertise to improving the current legislative framework,” the RASCI says.
“RASCI supports the right of Romanians to correct information and unhindered access to safe and high quality food supplements.”