Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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January 30, 2004

London High Court Hears EU Supplements Challenge

LONDON, 30 January - The Alliance for Natural Health has filed a legal challenge against a European directive that would ban a number of vitamin and mineral substances in food supplements. The case is being heard today. Here is a report of BBC. An analogous challenge by the UK Association of Health Stores and by British Health Foods Industry is being heard today as well.

Although the ban is expected to be effective only in 2005, consumers who use the supplements and practitioners who recommend them to patients are alarmed at the prospect of no longer finding them in health stores. According to the ANH, the means to fight its legal action have predominantly been coming from supplement users.

The legal challenge is a landmark in its own right - few European directives have ever been directly challenged in court, although their effect is felt by hundreds of millions of people in all member countries. The aim is to bring the matter of supplement regulations before the European Court of Justice.


Dame Judy Dench, Dame Joan Plowright and Bianca Jagger are among thousands of consumers all over Europe supporting the Alliance for Natural Health (“ANH”) in its application for Judicial Review of the Food Supplements Directive, which is to be heard in the High Court on Friday 30 January. Unless challenged successfully, the Directive will ban, from 2005, thousands of safe products which have been available for years.

ANH Executive Director, Dr Robert Verkerk, says: “People have had enough – this Directive is supposed to be promoting trade in food supplements in the EU but actually has the reverse effect. It will prohibit from sale many of the more advanced, safe supplements currently available in the UK, Sweden, Ireland and Holland, forcing these countries to comply with a much more restrictive regime more typical of the existing regimes in countries like Germany and France. The governments of these countries are openly hostile to advanced food supplements. We go to court next Friday to commence a test case to address this anomaly with a goal of obtaining a legal regime which befits the 21st Century. We want to ensure that the Directive supports the role of nutrition at the heart of healthcare policy.

We readily endorse the notion of reasonable and proportionate legislation for natural products. But moves to ban around 300 of the 420 or so vitamin and mineral forms currently on the market must be resisted, particularly when this will prevent the sale of some of the most beneficial food supplements that have a long and unblemished track record of safety.”

The ANH is supported by consumers, practitioners, and manufacturers and retailers of innovative food supplements, across 43 countries. Over 80% of funds raised to-date for the challenge have come from the end-users of these innovative food supplements, who are greatly concerned that the Directive will deprive them of access to advanced, bioavailable and effective products of their choice.

David Hinde, Solicitor and Legal Director of the ANH adds: “We have lined up a legal team of the highest calibre with barristers from Brick Court Chambers and solicitors at the Simkins Partnership. ANH’s challenge is based on EU constitutional law grounds. We say that the ban on food supplements imposed by the Directive is quite unnecessary in order to facilitate the internal market and thus goes beyond the legal powers of the Community legislator.

This case may well prove to be a landmark decision on the interface between EU legislative powers, the sovereignty of Member States and the protection of individual and companies’ rights. We support appropriate legislation but the Directive in its present form is unworkable and will have a catastrophic effect on the emerging market for advanced high potency and effective food supplements.”

Erica Murray of the Irish Association of Health Stores who has worked closely with ANH gathering commercial data from Ireland, comments: “This Directive needs to be modified if it’s going to deal fairly with the thousands of smaller businesses involved with innovative natural health products across Europe. Otherwise it will give a huge competitive advantage to the big companies, which dominate mass-market sales of lower potency vitamin and mineral supplements from supermarkets and pharmacies. We have lodged voluminous evidence from the UK, Sweden, Ireland and Italy to show that the Directive – if unchallenged – will have dire consequences for hundreds of smaller businesses in the UK and other parts of Europe.”

Ms Murray adds: “We are pleased to see that other associations have now also seen the light. In particular, we welcome the decision of the UK trade associations – the National Association of Health Stores and the Health Food Manufacturers Association – to mount a parallel challenge. We hope Europe gets the message that people want their advanced supplements. More and more people are choosing natural products and this freedom of choice should not be denied.”

See also some related history:

La Leva di Archimede to Europarliamentarians on Directive about to be passed

La Leva di Archimede challenges Commission on Directive

Health Freedom March in London scheduled for 15 June

EU supplements directive based on bad science

Consumers demonstrate against EU directives

UK House of Lords votes against EU supplements directive

UK votes to adopt EU supplements directive

How UK Labour fixed vote on supplements

Courts to decide fate of EU supplements directive

European Supplements Directive challenged in London Court

Mathioudakis: Don't Rob My Sleep


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Friday January 30 2004
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

Foods Are Medicines: The Elusive Borderline
" Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food." Hippocrates (460-377 BC) We might say that the debate of what is food and what is medicine goes back more than two thousand years, to Hippocrates, the Greek physician who is also known as the father of modern scientific medicine. In the early 1960s, pharmaceutical medicines were in the headlines with a tragic development. Mothers who had... [read more]
September 28, 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: 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

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




Readers' Comments

Has the Comprehensive Nutrient Review by Gary Null et al. at

for the benefit of the FDA and CODEX been used?
This lists many studies supporting a theraputic rather
than the deficiency dose that has been recommended.

Posted by: Mark Schindler on January 31, 2004 11:16 AM


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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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