Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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October 16, 2003

European Supplements Directive challenged in London Court

The European Union's Directive on Food Supplements, which became EU law last year and is now being transposed into the legal systems of EU member states, has been challenged in a UK court on Monday 13 October by the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) a pan-European coalition of supplement manufacturers, retailers, independent health practitioners and consumers.

The case, filed in the London High Court by Brick Court Chambers and the Simkins Partnership, ANH's lawyers, is expected to lead to a whole-Europe judicial review of the controversial legislative measure, which restricts ingredients and dosages of nutrients in food supplements and is to be fully operational by 2005.

What is being challenged is the UK's law putting the directive into effect in that country, but with a view to bringing the whole idea of restrictive legislation for natural products before the European Court of Justice.

ANH is providing more details in the following announcement.


The ANH is a pan-European and International organisation of supplement manufacturers, retailers, practitioners and consumers very concerned about the negative effects of the European Food Supplements Directive, which come into effect in this country on 1 August 2005.

The Directive will ban about 300 of the 420 or so forms of vitamins and minerals present in around 5000 products on the UK market, many of which are sold in high street health food stores. The ban will have a similar effect on products in such countries as Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland which have advanced markets for food supplements.

There is a growing deterioration in the UK diet bought about by the economic pressure of big business and the advertising of fast food. The decreasing nutritional quality of the average diet along with the increasing exposure to toxins make the role of nutrition, including use of supplements, of paramount importance in healthcare in order to address the growing incidence of degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis to mention but a few. The ban will have the effect of making it much more difficult for anyone concerned about their health and diet to supplement it with a range of products which have been consumed and sold for years without any health risk.

Another effect of the EU legislation is that many small companies who research into, produce and market these safe and effective food supplements will be unable to sell them without investing huge sums of money in proving their safety – despite the fact that we have been consuming many of the food-forms of nutrients to be banned for sometimes hundreds of years with no known health risk.


The ANH has begun the legal process for a declaration that the Directive is invalid under European law. Aided by lawyers from Brick Court Chambers and The Simkins Partnership in London, the ANH has set out to prove that this potentially catastrophic ban is not only unnecessary, but unlawful.

Dr Rob Verkerk PhD, Executive Director of the ANH says: “This is a groundbreaking challenge to another intrusive and unwanted EU Directive ban which we aim to demonstrate has been passed unlawfully from the EU into UK law. We believe that it will rob the consumer of the right to buy important nutritional supplements to improve their diet and health and that of their children, as well as putting hundreds of small businesses and the livelihoods of thousands at risk. There is absolutely no justification for this ban and we aim to get it removed.”

Mike Ash, Managing Director of Nutri-Link Limited, a West Country based manufacturer and supplier of supplements to practitioners and health stores, is a co-claimant with the ANH. He represents many of the small businesses, which will be hit by the ban, and says: “The Directive bans many of our most popular products and forces us and many other manufacturers needlessly to reformulate other key products. The cost to us to reformulate tried and tested products to comply with the directive is enormous. To develop a single product can take months of careful assessment and analysis. If we have to spend our time until August 2005 reformulating existing products to comply with the directive we cannot develop new products. In many instance, reformulation will not be possible at all as the most important ingredients of the product will be banned by the directive. The ban is a catastrophe for our business and customers.”


Among the 300 ingredients to be banned by the Directive will be natural forms of Vitamin E, found in food wheatgerm and organic bound minerals like selenocysteine, found in brazil nuts. In addition the directive aims to ban nearly all important trace elements used in supplements, including boron and vanadium.

Demand for products with nutrients sourced from natural ingredients is increasing rapidly among consumers simply because such products work very effectively. An increasing number of scientific reports are supporting their use in place of older-style synthetic nutrients that have been the mainstay of the supplement industry for several decades.

Synthetic vitamins and inorganic minerals, typical ingredients in multivitamin and mineral products found in supermarkets and pharmacies will not be affected by the ban, indeed they are the nutrient forms approved by the EU directive. In summary, advanced natural and well absorbed vitamin and mineral nutrients will be banned and what will be allowed will be the old-fashioned, synthetic versions, which tend to be much less effective.

The Foods Supplements Directive ban on advanced nutrients destroys innovation and deprives consumers of the best food supplements now available.


Robert Verkerk BSc, MSc, DIC, PhD
Executive Director
Tel. (general): 01252 371 275
Tel. (direct): 0771 484 7225

David Hinde LLb Solicitor
Legal Director
Tel. (direct): 0207738 1640
Mobile: 07958 548 186

See also related articles:

Legal challenge to supplements directive gains support

Hands Off Vitamins and Herbs - ISIS Institute of Science in Society

European Directive Against Vitamins & Minerals - ISIS Institute of Science in Society

EU Supplements Directive based on bad science

Consumers demonstrate

EU directives to erode choice

UK House of Lords votes against directive

How UK Labour fixed votes

Courts to decide fate of directive


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Thursday October 16 2003
updated on Tuesday December 21 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

Food Supplements in Europe - What is the Problem?
The European Union has issued a Directive to regulate the commerce of food supplements, which is in the process of being implemented in the member states. If reading the referenced text does not tell you what problems this directive might bring to your ability to either buy or sell supplements in one of the European Community member states, don't feel alone. That is a problem most observers have and I... [read more]
April 21, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Denmark To Eliminate Concept Of Supplements: 'They're All Medicines'
August 2004 - Danish Health Authorities have issued a proposed national "Guidance on Supplements" for public discussion which, according to MayDay, an association campaigning for freedom of choice in health matters, "is worse than any legislation we have ever seen before, as it will erase the concept of supplements, this actually means that Denmark is about to be the most totalitarian state experiment in Europe concerning health." The Danes refer to... [read more]
September 07, 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




Readers' Comments

I wholly and utterly support this campaign against the ban of natural health products. I have been preferring to spend money on preventive supplements rather than on health insurance to pay for drugs which only help speed up a downward health spiral. Don't let them take away our freedom of choice.

Posted by: Patricia Worters on October 16, 2003 09:11 PM


We may not let this directive happen

Posted by: Verhenneman Helene on October 16, 2003 09:45 PM


I can't believe that the Government allows drugs that are cancer causing such as HRT a known carcinogen, yet bans vitamins and minerals known to prevent disease. Perhaps they should focus on the increasing number of toxic chemicals used like those in the baby food jars. Surely prevention is better than cure. One can't help thinking some one will be making money out of the banning of these vital nutrients as sickness will increase, and drugs will inevitably be used.

Posted by: GB on October 16, 2003 10:41 PM


I rely on products CoEnzymeQ10, Vitamins E and C as I have a condition called Marfan Syndrome,and need these supplements to help maintain and build connective tissue. I also take Echinacia, and find this is excellent at maintaining a healthy immune system, and I would be devasted if I could no longer purchase these products, as I know they all have a beneficial effect.

Posted by: Valerie Gillett on October 18, 2003 07:06 PM


Please fight for us all in GB. In Spain and other European countries people rarely challenge the government so our only chance comes from your country to fight for are rights. Its up to you guys

Posted by: Alfonso Sainz Wilson on November 15, 2003 08:59 PM



I think it is absolutely disgraceful that the EU wishes to ban nutritional supplements. My feeling is, and has been for some time, that they wish to boost the pharmaceutical industry and aren't really concerned with the toxicity of these supplements. It's just a smokescreen. Without these supplements public health will suffer greatly, and so people will be forced to take drugs etc, etc. I myself suffer from depression and am a major St. John's Wort user. I don't know what I'll do without it....

Good luck with your campaign. I'm with you all the way!


Posted by: Angela Jennings on November 6, 2004 10:51 AM


I'd hate to see a nutraceutical "underground," where people buy boron & tocopherols on street corners from "dealers" at heroin-like prices! And who's gonna pay for all the jail cells and rehab programs!? Will we have "vitamin stills," where folks brew up selenocysteine in vats in their backyard? 1929 revisited, eh? What will the Euro "FDA equivalent" have to say about safety & purity of nutritional supplements then? This MUST be a Fellini movie...a surrealistic fantasy...How can an underfunded agency fight commerce, anyway?

Posted by: Aviva Gabriel on November 13, 2004 05:28 AM


This legislation puts the money back into the hands of the doctor-pharmaceutical alliance for prescribing and selling...they'll monopolize distribution of nutritional supplements and botanical medicine...taking it right out of the hands of the mavericks and pioneers who developed the enviably profitable "alternatives" to allopathic drugs in the first place!

Posted by: Aviva Gabriel on November 13, 2004 06:59 AM


This food supplement directive is not only totally ridiculous, but in my opinion will cost the EU many billions of euros in national health care expenses.
How stupid can you get, even if just looking at it from a fiscal viewpoint?
My family and I have had and still have many benefits from supplements and know that they work. (at least some of them)
I would like to know if the signaturers P. Cox and J. Pique I Camps themselves ( and their families) take any siupplements?
We live in South Africa where this utter nonsense has not penetrated yet and I guess we are lucky that we can buy in that respect anything we like.
Good luck with your case.

Posted by: Hans Hundscheid on July 14, 2005 08:09 PM


Minister pledges support for consumers and industry over Directives
November 23, 2005
The recently appointed health minister, Caroline Flint, has pledged continued government support to consumers and industry over EU regulations that threaten access to safe and effective natural health products.

Speaking at the Consumers for Health Choice (CHC) Annual Parliamentary Reception Flint said that since taking office she had personally been involved with a series of discussions and briefings with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on the Food Supplements Directive (FSD). She was confident that these, and other on-going discussions, would enable Britain to negotiate the best deal in Europe for British consumers and industry. She added that she had recently given ministerial approval to the FSA Board's proposal that Britain should seek a 'national exception' in Europe which, if successfully agreed with the EC, would enable higher dose VMS products to stay on the shelves.

Flint, a pro-European, said that the biggest challenges facing the natural products industry in Europe were cultural not institutional. "Sometimes it is simply a case that there is someone in Germany who doesn't understand the different trading and consumer traditions in, say, Britain or the Netherlands. We need to find ways of dealing with these cultural differences sensibly and effectively.�?

Speaking on the subject of the Herbals Directive, Flint commented: "This is an area where I know there are differing views. Some people believe that the regulations are welcome and overdue. But at the same time I accept that government should be giving maximum support to industry to help manufacturers get their products registered.�?

In his speech CHC chair, Michael Peet, said he welcomed the interest the new minister had given to consumer and industry concerns over the FSD and other EU legislation.
He commented: "I believe that we are witnessing a paradigm shift in government thinking on these issues and am hopeful that this could, finally, set us on a route to finding a safe home in Europe for our products.�? But he added that CHC's own message to government had become increasingly hard-hitting politically, largely because of the inaction of previous ministers.

CHC director, Sue Croft, said she had been delighted with the way the reception had gone. "It was very well attended, with good representations from both Houses of Parliament. In terms of getting across our message to individual MPs and Peers I think this was probably our best ever House of Commons reception.�?

However Croft agreed with long-time CHC supporter, Austin Mitchell MP, who said that the "fight against overzealous EU regulations�? had to continue if the battle was to be won. Switching his attention to recent media scares about supplements, Mitchell said: "The streets would be littered with the dead if vitamins were half as dangerous as some people would have you believe.�?

Posted by: Sepp on November 25, 2005 10:48 PM


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The Individual Is Supreme And Finds Its Way Through Intuition


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These articles are brought to you strictly for educational and informational purposes. Be sure to consult your health practitioner of choice before utilizing any of the information to cure or mitigate disease. Any copyrighted material cited is used strictly in a non commercial way and in accordance with the "fair use" doctrine.



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