Food Law News - EU - 2001

EP News Report, 25 January 2001

PARNUTS - Stricter rules for food supplements

Millions of EU citizens take daily food supplements, usually concentrated sources of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, fibre and various plant and herb extracts. Consumer demand for these products has increased enormously, with annual sales in 1999 of EUR 470,444m in the UK and EUR 388,577m in Germany.

However, some authorities in the Member States are concerned that the proliferation of these products may make it more difficult to monitor them and that increased availability and use may affect the nutrient intake of the population. Moreover, there are differences between the Member States in areas such as product composition, dosage, purity criteria, labelling and approval procedures.

In her report for the Environment Committee, Emilia Franziska Müller (EPP-ED, D) therefore welcomed the Commission's proposal for a directive on the approximation of national laws on food supplements, although she stressed that the directive would not completely harmonise legislation on food supplements throughout Europe. Different approaches would still be possible in the various Member States.

While accepting the broad thrust of the proposal, the committee adopted amendments to include extra minerals and their clinical compounds, provisions on labelling to ensure consumers are properly informed, adequate purity and quality requirements, and binding notification procedures.

The report was adopted with 20 votes in favour, 7 against and 22 abstentions, mainly from PES Members who argued that they were against the inclusion in the annexes of products which had not yet been tested and approved by the competent authority. The report is scheduled for plenary debate under the codecision procedure (first reading) on Tuesday 13 February in Strasbourg.

24.01.01 Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection. In the chair: Caroline JACKSON (EPP-ED, UK)

To go to current EU Food Law News page,
click here.
To go to main Food Law Index page, click here.