Food Law News - EU - 2006

Committee Report, 8 December 2006

SUPPLEMENTS Discussions within the Standing Committee on food supplements containing medicinal plants

Extract from the report of the meeting of the 88th December of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health - Section on General Food Law

Letter from France concerning food supplements containing medicinal plants. (Document SANCO/A/2006/10287)

France raised the issue of the classification of food supplement containing medicinal plant as medicinal products or as food.

Many Member States express their wish for Community harmonization on this issue, i.e. rules/criteria for classification. The problem is not a new one, since it has already given rise to several Court cases. The European Court of Justice stated that the classification of a medicinal product has to be carried out following a case by case evaluation which takes into account such elements as the presentation of the product, its labelling, its ingredients and their concentration etc. etc.

It follows that if Member States intend to classify these substances, they have to take into account both the provisions set by the Treaties and the ECJ jurisprudence. More in general, for the classification of a product as food all the applicable horizontal Community provisions (e.g. Directive 2000/13/EC on labelling, the forthcoming regulation on Claims etc.) have to be taken into account.

It was concluded that: The concern raised by France is shared by several delegations.

Some forthcoming pieces of EU legislation and reports will have an influence on the issue. In particular:

In view of the above, the Committee considers that further discussion on the harmonization of the issue in question could take place following the evolution of the abovementioned provisions.

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