This decision reflects Government consideration of the outcome of the public consultation exercise and the report of the Agriculture Select Committee. The Government’s assessment of the science remains that provided by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) and this will continue to be reflected in the advice to the public.
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Nick Brown said:
"We need to establish a consistent set of principles for ensuring the safety of all food supplements containing vitamins and minerals. We have therefore decided to defer the legislation on vitamin B6 until we have the report of the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals.
"We continue to rely on the assessment of the science provided by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment and I pay tribute to that Committee and its Chairman. We shall therefore be advising the public to limit daily intakes of vitamin B6 from food supplements to no more than 10mg a day, unless otherwise acting on professional advice."
The main task of the Expert Group will be to establish a framework of scientific principles to assess the safety of vitamins and minerals, but it will also advise on the toxicity of individual vitamins and minerals. Its report is expected to be published in eighteen months to two years.
The Minister also announced that Professor Frank Woods, the Chairman of the COT, has decided to step aside as chairman of the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals. A new Chairman of the Expert Group will be announced in due course.
The Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals has been set up to establish principles on which controls for ensuring the safety of vitamin and mineral supplements sold under food law can be based. It will also review the levels of individual vitamins and minerals associated with adverse effects and, where appropriate, recommend maximum intakes from supplements. Its membership is made up of independent experts from other Government advisory committees.