Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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July 08, 2003

UK votes to adopt EU supplements directive

3 July 2003 - London
The Standing Committee on Health of the House of Commons, in a close vote, approved the proposed UK law that transforms the European Food Supplements directive into British law. 7 members of the 13-member committee accepted the government's proposed Statutory Instrument, which spells out the details of application of th new EU rules on supplements.

The vote comes after the House of Lords had rejected the same law in an overwhelming, but non-binding motion.

In an apparent attempt to head off intensive consumer lobbying and to ensure a politically correct outcome of the vote, the Standing Committee's members were shuffled on the morning of the vote with six new members being appointed just hours before the decision approving the government's proposal. There was no debate in the House of Commons.

For those interested in the details of last minute member changes in the Standing Committee and the discussions that preceded the approval of the Statutory Instrument transforming the EU directive into UK law, here is a report by Paul Taylor.
Download this file

From a recent story in the UK press:

WEST Worcestershire MP Sir Michael Spicer said he fully supported a move to amend European regulation which would ban 300 vitamin supplements from being sold in health stores.

"I have had hundreds of letters from angry constituents about this matter," he said. "Quite rightly they want to limit the role of the nanny state, particularly when the issue is being driven from Brussels. Next in line are to be herbal medicines and other alternative homeopathic remedies."

Sir Michael added: "The sensible approach would be to ban only those remedies which have known harmful effects and have been scientifically assessed as such by the Scientific Committee for Food. This is not what will happen.

"Instead, people will be deprived from August 1 of using products which have been, apparently harmlessly, available for a long time and which they feel will do them good. It is a scandal."

The "Early Day Motion" approved in the House of Lords:

EDM 1442
That this House notes that, under the provisions of the Food Supplements (England) Regulations, the use in food supplements of the key nutrients silicon, sulphur and boron, in addition to some 300 other sources of minerals and vitamins, will be banned with effect from July 2005; further notes the warnings from officials of the Food Standards Agency to industry representatives on Monday 9th June that the setting of maximum permitted levels of nutrients in food supplements thereafter by the European authorities is likely to lead to very low permissible levels reflecting outdated concepts of nutritional need rather than safety, which will in turn have a serious and adverse impact upon UK industry and consumer choice; calls on the Government to take urgent action to address these serious problems; and declines to approve the Food Supplements (England) Regulations.

Update about the vote count in Committee (8 July 2003):

Apparently the Government are now saying that the vote was actually AYES 8 NOES 6 (as opposed to AYES 7 NOES 6, which was what was read out at the end of the vote by the clerk). Apparently "the clerk read it out wrongly".

A rarer than rare occurrence apparently.....

Kind regards

Date: Fri, 4 Jul 2003 15:31:30 +0100
Subject: RE: Standing Committee

It was 8-6 - the clerk read it out wrong initially. The frustrating thing was that one of the Labour members was willing to vote the other way if it made the difference - but because if he did it would have been 7-7, the Government would have won on the Chairman's casting vote. Which means that if Dr Evan Harris, the Lib Dem health spokesman had bothered to turn up, the Government would have lost 8-7. Infuriating.

Sent: 04 July 2003 12:49
Subject: RE: Standing Committee

Can you confirm, the outcome of the vote. I believed it was a majority of 7 to 6 in favour of the directive. I believe you have said it was 8 to 6. Please clarify this when you have a moment. I will shortly be writing a press release on yesterday's meeting.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Tuesday July 8 2003
updated on Friday December 10 2010

URL of this article:


Related Articles

Supplements case to go to European Court
LONDON 30 January 2004 - The London High Court ruled today that the case against the European food supplements directive may be referred to the European Court of Justice. Mr Justice Richards ruled that there is "an arguable case" and that reference [of the the matter] to the EU Court of Justice "is plainly appropriate and should be made as soon as possible". "This is an important breakthrough in our... [read more]
January 30, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Codex Alimentarius – A threat to your vitamin supplements?
Codex Alimentarius is an international standard-setting body dealing with how to safely process and store food products, avoiding hazards to our health. For about ten years, the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses has been mulling over a guideline for vitamin and mineral supplements, originally proposed by the German delegation to this committee, presumably to eliminate dangers from these additions of vital nutrients to our nutrition.... [read more]
March 22, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Food Supplements: European Court To Hear Anti-Prohibition Case In January
The European Court of Justice has set 25 January 2005 as the date for hearing a case challenging the new European Directive on Food Supplements. The EU supplement law's prohibition clause will go into effect in July 2005, taking off the market many supplements consumers are now buying, unless the directive is overturned or substantially modified. The case was referred to the EU court by judge Richards of the London... [read more]
December 09, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Supplements: EU Court Hears Case As UK Commons Debate Directive
Luxembourg - The European Court of Justice heard oral arguments yesterday in a case brought by the Alliance for Natural Health, the British Health Food Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Health Food Stores, to overturn the prohibitive provisions of the European food supplements directive. The directive, passed in 2002 for the purpose of harmonizing European laws on health products, is set to require expensive research to prove the... [read more]
January 26, 2005 - Sepp Hasslberger

Food Supplements: German Risk Institute Takes Dim View
The German Federal Institute for Risk Evaluation, formerly the Federal Office for Consumer Health Protection, has established a risk assessment model for deducing maximum safe levels of nutrients provided in supplements and fortified foods, according to a recent report of The report was published in two parts, one dealing with minerals, the other with vitamins, both available in PDF format - so far only in German language (Minerals here)... [read more]
January 20, 2005 - Sepp Hasslberger

Conventional medicine far riskier than supplements
Barbara Sumner Burstyn, in an article in the New Zealand Herald comments on the recent Australian attack on natural products which of course was felt also by New Zealand's health food aficionados. "...a blanket recall caused people to doubt not only the effectiveness of vitamins and supplements but their safety. We may have been looking in the wrong direction. While the Pan medication put 19 Australians in hospital, and others... [read more]
June 16, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger




Readers' Comments

I am very angry vitamins/minerals etc are to be banned and others restricted to trivial amounts. We are being mugged.

Posted by: Michael Johnson on July 14, 2003 06:55 PM


This law is a total outrage, and a serious erosion of basic human rights. Who are these petty beaurocrats to inflict their own warped wills upon the honest citizens of Great Britain. This will only lead to an even greater burden on the National Health Service, and much suffering and misery for the ordinary people of this once great country.

Dennis Brown BSC(HON,) Social Policy

Posted by: Dennis Brown on July 31, 2003 06:39 PM


thank you for your comment about the EU supplements directive. You are correct to ask "who are they". Supposedly "they" are paid to work for our health, although it may look that this is not what they have in mind. It is up to each one of us to make our voice heard. Several associations in Great Britain are working to reverse or at least revise these decisions. Here are a few of them:

Consumers for Health Choice

Alliance for Natural Health

Health Freedom Movement

You might perhaps want to get active with one or more of them to help prevent happening what you describe as ... much suffering and misery for the ordinary people.

Kind regards

Posted by: Josef Hasslberger on July 31, 2003 10:36 PM


Why do the "powers that be" want to stop me doing my best to help myself live with multiple sclerosis? Government spends a fortune on drugs that don't help everyone with MS, me included, but when I want to spend my money on supplements that help me, they say, "no way". I'm very very angry and more than a little afraid.

Posted by: Catriona on October 11, 2003 03:20 PM


Thank you for your comment, Catriona.

Why indeed. Yours is a good question, and I believe to have the answer: There is inordinate control of government health policy by a huge commercial interest, a cartel of the pharmaceutical companies. Their control has been established with patience over a long time and it's an almost perfect machinery that assures government "decisions" are always made with special regard to the cartel which is posing as a "health provider". Sadly in reality, what the cartel provides is sickness.

See this article where a Berkely professor discusses this and this one giving the views of Dr. Rath, one of the alternative health providers who is taking on the medical monopoly full front.

Posted by: Josef on October 11, 2003 08:12 PM


Imitation is the sincerest form of television.

Posted by: Heyden Jenny Steinman on January 9, 2004 09:00 PM


I only found out about this stupid law today. How on earth can the government simply tell me that a few vitamin are unsafe and removed from sale and yet smoking which is proven to kill is OK.

Posted by: Carleton Van Selman on April 12, 2004 01:02 PM


This is a complete disgrace how can they make laws like this without asking the people. A disgrace!

Posted by: Paul Smith on August 25, 2004 02:46 PM


What an absurd law

Why should people be prevented from protecting their own health with supplements?

Presumably the EU powers that be would prefer us to all fall sick, go to our doctors and be prescribed expensive pharmaceutical ‘cures', which will greatly bloat the drug companies already huge profits.

Once the legislation comes into force next year and the public realises what's happened, lets hope for some kind of uprising will occur

Posted by: Martin Fedorski on December 1, 2004 12:13 PM


I don't care what the "law" says-- I'll always continue to take the "supplements", even if it goes to the black market!

What do those fat politicians know anyway? If they try to stop us, it's their own health that'll be at risk!

Posted by: Lee on April 8, 2005 12:21 AM


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