Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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October 20, 2003

Mathioudakis: Don't Rob My Sleep

I imagine the reaction of Basil Mathioudakis could have been a similar exclamation, upon hearing the news that there are now not one but TWO legal challenges against his directive - both in the British Courts. Basil Mathioudakis is the EU Commission's official who has been in charge of seeing the Directive on Food Supplements through the EU legislative process to approval in July last year. The Directive, which will restrict the natural options for staying healthy in a dramatic way, is in the process of being transposed into national legislation in the fifteen EU member states.

In the UK, despite a negative vote in the House of Lords, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health approved the British law transposing the EU rules on 3 July this year, not without the governing Labour Party interfering and sacking those committee members who had uncautiously revealed they would vote against the measure. The vote approving the law was clearly rigged but no one seems to care about such details any more these days.

Anyway - we said two legal challenges. The first challenge to come to my attention was filed on Monday 13 October by the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) a pan-European coalition of supplement manufacturers, retailers, independent health practitioners and consumers.

A second legal action had actually been filed on the Friday prior to that, by a coalition uniting the National Association of Health Stores, the Health Food Manufacturers Association, Consumers for Health Choice and nutrition experts at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition.

So Mathioudakis might be having sleepless nights ... please let me know if anyone in another European country would like to add another legal action to aggravate ... well no, I would not want to wish that on anyone!

Here are some details about the latest legal action to come to our attention.

Health Food Industry Launches Legal Action Against EU Legislation.

A joint application for a Judicial Review on the legality of the EU Food Supplements Directive has been lodged with the Court by leading organisations within the health food industry. They are confident that this interesting and important case will succeed in being referred to the European Court of Justice. The National Association of Health Stores (NAHS) and the Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) are also applying for an injunction to stop the Directive coming into effect in this country. The lobby group Consumers for Health Choice (CHC) and nutrition experts the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION) are supporting the case.

The Directive 2002/46/EC is designed to harmonise the market across all Member States and will restrict the sale of the most popular higher dose nutrients, such as antioxidant vitamins C, B6 and E and essential minerals including selenium and zinc, in quantities currently used by UK consumers, limiting them to purchasing very small, yet to be determined, doses.

This Directive will affect 41% of UK adults who currently buy over £335 million worth of vitamins and minerals annually. Consumers wishing to maintain their daily nutrient consumption will be forced to make multiple purchases for their usual intake, paying prices several times their current outlay.

In total, over 5,000 popular vitamin and mineral food supplements will be banned and lost forever when the Directive comes into force on 1 August 2005. These products are currently available throughout the UK, accepted as safe by the Regulators and have proven benefits.

The Directive dictates which nutrients and nutrient sources will be allowed, and shows these in the form of a Positive List. There are around 270 ingredients widely used in supplements on the British market that are not included. A very small number of products containing these missing ingredients could remain on the shelves till 2009, but only if the manufacturers compile and submit dossiers proving each ingredient’s safety before the end of July 2005 - costing up to £200,000 per substance.

Ralph Pike, Director of NAHS, said: “Whilst this Directive will be implemented in all EU countries it will be ruinous for the UK. We have a strong and increasing supplements culture and British consumers prefer to buy specialist vitamins and minerals in higher doses than other nations.”

Peter Aldis, Managing Director of Holland & Barrett and current Chairman of HFMA, added: “There is a wealth of evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of essential vitamins and minerals. They have been available as supplements for decades and are the subject of thousands of positive research studies.”

Sue Croft, Director of CHC, stated: “This Directive has to be stopped. It will cause untold misery for millions of consumers if their supplements are restricted. Nobody would deny that regular intake of nutritional supplements acts as an insurance policy, both as an excellent means of maintaining good health and preventing some diseases. Losing our special products will force thousands of people into the doctor’s surgeries, at a time when out health care system is in crisis.”

See also:

Don't say we didn't tell you - documents from the time when the Supplements Directive was maneuvered through the EU legislative process.

Legal challenge to supplements directive gains support

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


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Monday October 20 2003
updated on Tuesday December 21 2010

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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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