EDITOR'S SPOTLIGHT: SCIENCE & REGULATION
Trade union hits back at consumer report criticising supplement quality
The independent trade union are responding to an investigation by the publication '60 million consumers,' which looks at 120 dietary supplements on the French market, in which they claim some products are ‘likely to cause certain disorders’.
The special report, which looked at supplements addressing fatigue, insomnia, stress, cold and respiratory viruses, digestive disorders amongst others, took issue with the additives used, dosage information and heavy metal contamination.
“Insufficient labelling of food supplements, dosage of some products very exaggerated, origin of the substances not always notified ... In view of the results of our study, we demand a hardening of the regulation in force of these products more and more acclaimed and consumed,” the publication says.
Synadiet’s president Christelle Chapteuil responded to the report, saying "it is particularly worrying to note that the users' opinions are totally absent from this issue, which positions itself as offering complete and useful information.
“How can one justify this total absence of the consumers’ experience of food supplements?
“The fact that people who freely choose to buy these products cannot be ignored simply to meet the report’s expectations."
The union go on to rubbish claims by the investigation that active ingredients used in food supplements can cause side effects.
As an example, the report identifies melatonin which can cause headaches or vomiting as well as some essential oils, which it is claimed can promote epileptic seizures or aggravate existing conditions.
Synadiet responded by stating that the effectiveness of the active ingredients used in the composition of food supplements is based on scientific studies and/or a decline in use.
“Only effects admitted by the authorities can be claimed on the packaging,” they say. “In addition, before being placed on the French market, they must be examined by the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF). They are then monitored continuously and regularly checked.”
“These are products that are strictly supervised by the authorities allowing only the placing on the market of ingredients they deem safe, imposing if necessary, dose levels and precautions for use.
“This information, necessarily present on the labelling of the products, contributes in guaranteeing their safety.”
Food supplement prescriptions?
Synadiet, which counts Capsugel, DSM and Indena as members, advocate the use of food supplements as an approach to addressing some of major issues that challenge the country’s health care system.
A spokesperson for Synadiet says that “we believe that food supplements will play a greater role as a prescribed solution in the coming future due to the ageing of the population.
“It is because the cost of therapeutic solution relating to the ageing of the population is becoming more and more important for our social security that we urge the Government to turn to preventive solutions such as food supplements. “
“In addition, there are situations in modern life, such as late pregnancies, special dietary choices, periods of stress and others that may warrant individual and ad hoc use of dietary supplements.”
The group adds that in this context, Synadiet works to develop the food supplement category in accordance with the French regulations in force, to meet the growing needs of the population, to implement a communication that promotes their proper use and to ensure both the quality and the security of the offer of its members.
“Many of the ingredients used in dietary supplements come from millennial traditions that belong to the heritage of humanity,” Synadiet says.
“It is also this heritage that Synadiet wishes to preserve and cultivate for the well-being of present and future generations.”