The European Union is going ahead in its implementation of the food supplements directive, and is now trying to work out how to set limits for the dosage of nutrients in food supplements. There is a discussion paper calling for input from stakeholders to help the Commission decide on how to proceed.
The trend seen from discussions and from decisions taken so far is rather restrictive. The health promoting uses of supplements are barely considered while the "side effects" of overdose are on center stage.
However, two Dutch scientists specialized in the evaluation of environmental risks say the Commission is going down the wrong path. They add that the law needs to look at the positive health effects of nutrients in our diet, including those in supplements, when deciding on possible limits of dosage.
Why would the EU Commission want to single out supplements, which are generally taken for their health promoting properties, for restrictions and "special treatment", when pharmaceutical medicines and toxic chemicals are wreaking predictable havoc with our health year after year. That would seem to be the central question.
The paper of the Dutch scientists Hanekamp and Bast to the Commission, supported by a grant from the Netherlands-based International Nutrition Company (INC), makes it clear that there should be a substantial re-thinking of the EU's approach to the regulation of supplements, rather than the "business as usual" drive, pushing ahead with mindless restrictions that do not serve to protect but may actually undermine public health...
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Food Supplements and Fortified Foods: a Scientific and Managerial Rejoinder to EC Policies
In order to have the proper perspective in relation to the questions of the Discussion Paper and the answers we will put forward in this paper, we will first address the implementation possibilities of a food supplements policy and elucidate some key inconsistencies. This will clarify the embedded presuppositions behind the questions asked in the Discussion Paper. Subsequently, we will propose a novel policy approach in view of current scientific knowledge...
The document is 14 pages and can be accessed here.
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