EU Directive on Vitamins and Minerals

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Your health freedoms are under an assault of such force that you're about to lose access to certain vitamins and nutritional supplements forever. And if this unjust law is allowed to stand in Europe, without protest, then it will encourage similar laws in the United States and other countries.

View a review of the situatiuon at


Freedom of choice?

Oh no you don't, EC tells UK

The battle has been lost, but the war goes on. The brave legal challenge to the EC Food Supplements Directive by the HFMA and NAHS has been thrown out.

The European Court of Justice has ‘upheld’ the FSD despite a preliminary recommendation by the Advocate General that the unpopular Directive should be annulled.

“We are distraught,“ said Sue Croft, director of Consumers for Health Choice. “We have been so upbeat and now we find ourselves fighting tooth and nail all over again.

“But the message is that we are not dead yet. We still have an opportunity to achieve national derogation for the UK and we have to push the Government to have the political will to do this. With Britain holding the EC presidency we have a good chance of pulling something out of the fire.”

Now that the FSD has been upheld, only ingredients on the ‘positive’ list can be used in supplements from August 1. Those suppliers that have not already reformulated now face huge hurdles in bringing thousands of supplements to health store shelves. Research and innovation will be stifled. However, the derogation process has so far provided a temporary stay of execution for 14 popular nutrients including Boron, Silicon and Ester-C allowing them to remain on sale until December 2009. On a more positive note, the new health minister, Caroline Flint, is said to be far more sympathetic than her predecessor, Melanie Johnson. Recent meetings with her have indicated she is ‘on the ball’, said Sue Croft.

The above is taken from the August issue of Health Food Business magazine.

The National Association of Health Stores expressed its anger today as the European Court of Justice upheld the food supplements directive.

John McKee, NAHS Chairman, said, “It is patently obvious to anyone, with any brain, that the directive offends principles of subsidiarity, proportionality, and personal freedom. That the most senior court in Europe has chosen not to see this is frankly mind-bending.”

“That said, the industry must not descend into depression and must very quickly regroup. We should all push the Prime Minister to deliver on his commitment to protect consumer choice. The new minister, Caroline Flint MP, made some promising signals last week that the UK may use other tactics to ensure the UK market is protected.”

“The HFMA and the NAHS have now been granted derogations for virtually all of the 270 missing ingredients. The dossiers are of variable quality and it is likely that not all derogations will extend to 2009. However, the ingredients which are used most often will be safe for a few years at least.”

“Retailers are now very scared about the impact on their businesses from 1st August but they must bear in mind the following. Derogations will allow most products to be sold up to 2009. Trading standards have already indicated that they regard this as low priority and will be using a light touch for probably a couple of years. High strength products are at risk but are also a couple of years from being restricted.”

“We must now fight as we have never fought before in order to protect our products. Get your MP on the phone this week. Let him know how worried you are.”

The Food Supplements Directive covers two fundamental areas:
1. The types of vitamins and minerals that may be legally sold from mid-2005.
2. The maximum doses at which they may be supplied from 2006.

The EU Commission has designated a list of permissible nutrients called 'The Positive List.' Specialist vitamin manufactures have expressed concern that their products containing organic ingredients, excluded from the 'List', are being compromised by synthetic or inorganic equivalents that are on the 'List.' All attempts to include a number of organic vitamins and minerals have been refused. Not only that, but to register their high quality products for sale could cost up to £250,00 per nutrient plus evidence of their safety. All nutrients must be paid for and registered by August 2005, putting small, large and medium suppliers of food supplements under intense pressure.

Maximum doses or Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamins and minerals will be negotiated over the next 18 months. Levels are to be set by the EU Scientific Committee to Food (SCF), who are not accountable to any government or parliament and have banned 300 nutrients so far (See box 1). Two commonly occurring vitamins, which have a wealth of scientific study to support their validity, are vitamin C and vitamin B6. The ANH fear RDA doses will be rendered so low that consumers will have to buy much more of the product to receive their current nutritional dose or that they might disappear from the shelves altogether.




The vitamin & mineral tablets used by millions of British people are under threat. Products such as 1gram Vitamin C tablets that are frequently used in the cold season, and the mineral Boron, important for strong bones and teeth, are set to become illegal once recently passed European laws are fully introduced.

Many more specialist vitamins that have been used safely by UK consumers for many years will also disappear. Almost every multi-vitamin tablet sold in Britain will have to be reformulated to avoid breaking the law.

Despite a vigorous campaign by the Conservative Party and the pressure group Consumers for Health Choice, the Government accepted the new rules. It is too late to reverse that decision – but it’s not too late to change the way that the laws will be enforced. The European Commission has still to decide many final details. It is still possible to save many products; but that will not happen unless the Government works hard on our behalf. Right now, that’s not happening.

That is why the Conservatives have launched a new campaign to put pressure on the Government to step in and get the right deal in Brussels. We are breaking new ground by organising a nationwide e-petition. We aim to get the backing of thousands of people; backing that we can use to put renewed pressure on Ministers and to make them realise how strongly we all feel about this.


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