Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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June 18, 2005

EU Court of Justice to Decide Fate of Supplements in Europe

The European Court of Justice is deliberating a challenge to the European Food Supplements Directive, which is expected to sharply decrease availability of nutritional supplements in Europe. The measure is setting tight rules for composition and envisages maximum dosages for vitamins and minerals, threatening to eliminate many of the more advanced supplement formulations from the market. The decision in the case has been announced for 12 July, just three days after the conclusion of the Codex Alimentarius Commission's meeting, scheduled to take place in Rome from 4 to 9 July 2005. Codex is expected to give final approval to a similar measure, the so-called Codex vitamin and mineral guidelines, which will affect the global supply of nutrient-rich products.

Advocate General Geelhoed at the EU Court has, in his authoritative opinion, stated that the EU directive's rules for adding substances to the short "allowed" list is not only excessively onerous but also that it lacks even rudimentary attributes of transparency.

What will be the future of nutritional supplementation in Europe? Much will depend on the court's decision. Robert Verkerk of the Alliance for Natural Health, one of the groups that originated legal action in the UK now before the EU court, has some hope...

- - -

EU Food Supplements Directive legal challenge

Consumers, practitioners, retailers and innovative food supplement companies came together in 2003 under the umbrella of the Alliance for Natural Health, to challenge the European Food Supplements Directive. This Directive, set to affect over 30% of Europeans who regularly consume food supplements, has the potential to ban some 75% of vitamin and mineral forms, especially those found naturally in foods, affecting around 5000 products in the UK alone.

The case was brought initially in the High Court in London in October 2003, and was successfully referred and expedited to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in January 2004. Oral arguments were presented to the Court a year later, culminating in an Opinion from the Court's Advocate General, issued on 5 April this year.

The Advocate General, Leendert Geelhoed, declared in his Opinion that the Directive was fundamentally flawed, and contravened EU law. He concluded:

"...that the Directive infringes the principle of proportionality, because basic principles of Community law, such as the requirements of legal protection, of legal certainty and of sound administration have not been properly taken into account. The Directive is, therefore, invalid."

The European Court of Justice has now declared that the judgment, made by the thirteen Judges presiding over the case, will be handed down at 09:30 h on 12 July 2005, in the Courtroom of the Court, Boulevard Konrad Andenauer, Luxembourg-Kirchberg.

Executive director of the Alliance for Natural Health, Dr Robert Verkerk, commented:

"The judgement will hopefully give rise to an amendment to the Directive that will result in much greater clarity for consumers and manufacturers of food supplements across Europe. This amendment is needed to prevent important nutrients being lost in food supplements. The Alliance for Natural Health is now close to commissioning an independent group of risk assessment scientists in Europe to help develop a new regulatory framework that is based on good science and good law. Such a framework would be likely to suggest that a Regulator should not determine which ingredients are allowed in supplements without also determining, based on all available science, the maximum dosages. The Food Supplements Directive currently separates these two issues. If this work had been undertaken before the Directive had been finalised, we would never have seen the attempted implementation of a defective Directive."

The ruling will potentially have significant impacts on the parallel development of international guidelines for vitamin and mineral food supplements by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which are near finalisation. This body, composed of delegates from around 90 governments and 40 non-governmental organisations, will meet in Rome on 4 to 9 July to decide whether to finalise these guidelines.

Since this Codex meeting occurs just before the date of the European Court ruling, the Alliance for Natural Health argues that it would be premature to finalise the Codex guidelines on vitamin and mineral food supplements before both the EU Food Supplements Directive is amended, and an improved system for risk assessment of nutrients is developed.

Dr Verkerk adds, drawing a further parallel with the Food Supplements Directive case:

"There is good evidence that in the effort to push through the Codex guidelines, procedural errors have again been made. Governments and regulators, as well as the many interests in this area, need to work together to put these right. There is a huge amount at stake for the future of natural healthcare."


Dr Robert Verkerk, Executive Director, Alliance for Natural Health
Tel:      +44 (0)1252 371 275
Mobile: +44 (0)771 484 7225

See also:

Why organized medicine wants to outlaw nutrition and turn healers into criminals
How about some truth for a change about the Food Supplements Directive in the European Union? The proponents of this directive say that it's about protecting patients from all these dangerous vitamins, minerals, supplements, plant extracts and antioxidants that are so dangerous for people. They say, "We're going to keep you safe!"


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Saturday June 18 2005
updated on Tuesday November 30 2010

URL of this article:


Related Articles

Supplements Directive Lacks Transparency - Advocate General's Opinion
5 April 2005 - In a case brought by the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH)) and others in the UK, challenging the European Supplement Directive's restrictive provisions, especially the limitation of allowed ingredients to a short list of mostly synthetic sources of vitamins and minerals, Advocate General Leendert Geelhoed has filed his opinion, coming to the following conclusion: "Examination of the provisions of Directive 2002/46/EC of the European Parliament and... [read more]
April 05, 2005 - Sepp Hasslberger

European Health Legislation, Codex And The Sustainability Of Health Care
Brussels has been busy "adjusting" EU food and medicine laws for several years now, bringing increasingly onerous controls for natural products - notably herbs and food supplements. Some observers have criticized these moves as designed to give an unfair advantage to "conventional", pharma-based medicine and will cut across preventive health strategies. Prevention is high on the agenda, but official strategies are largely limited to avoiding and killing off germs. Nutritional... [read more]
April 20, 2005 - Sepp Hasslberger

EU to extend concept of medicine - eliminate "borderline products"
18 December 2003 - The European Union is in the process of revising legislation that regulates pharmaceutically manufactured medicinal products. This legislation was first passed in 1965 and is known to those who are familiar with food and medicines regulations simply as "65/65", that is, directive number 65 passed in the year 1965. Some of the discussion, which is currently being held in the European Parliament in Strassbourg, centers around... [read more]
December 20, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger

Global Battle Erupts Over Vitamin Supplements
..."This battle over vitamin supplements may be a foretaste of what will happen later this year when a worldwide body called Codex Alimentarius will meet to establish upper limits on vitamin and mineral supplements. Codex is governed under the auspices of the United Nations and World Health Organization. These health organizations are tipping their partiality for drugs over nutritional supplements... ...World health organizations appear to be solely backing AIDS drug... [read more]
May 16, 2005 - Chris Gupta

Understanding The Pharmacartel Assault On Supplements
I know, I know, this is beginning to sound like a broken record, But most of the value of the information we have today and in the future will become useless if we are not able to procure the nutrients that we need to manage our own health. I implore you to at least understand the issues and act appropriately based on your own conclusions. At the moment the only... [read more]
October 22, 2004 - Chris Gupta

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




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