In accordance with the requirements of a European directive, the European Commission is about to pass restrictions on formulating food supplements that contain vitamins and minerals integrating daily nutrient intake.
Richard Burton, the head of the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health has written to members of the European Parliament that approved a directive mandating such restrictions, to warn that the directive, if implemented as planned, will harm the health of Europe's citizens.
The food supplement directive requires that ingredients supplying vitamins or minerals be approved and added to a published list this year, or they can no longer be used. Data required for adding those ingredients to the list are similar to those needed for approval of a medicine. The Commission is also looking at dosage restrictions that, in some cases, could make the products useless for the prevention of common degenerative ailments.
The letter by Institute Director Burton outlines the likely consequences of such restrictions and warns that many of Europe's more health conscious citizens are on the verge of losing faith in the idea of a united Europe.
La Leva has argued in similar terms during the time leading up to the passage of the directive - however to no avail.
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Dear Irish MEP,
I am founder and director of the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health. By profession I am a Nutritionist, Nutritional Therapist and Acupuncturist.
In my estimation, if the FSD is adopted in or close to its current form, it will have the following impacts:
1) Harm the health status of EU citizens
Much of the preventable disease burden across Europe is caused or compounded by intake deficiencies of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. None of it is caused by excessive intakes of these essential micronutrients. An increasingly nutrition-aware European population is consuming more supplements than ever. Decades of widespread use across Europe and N America have proven nutrient supplements to have an enviable safety record, so this is a positive trend. The FSD in its current form will severely limit forms and dosages of micronutrient supplements and will thus have the effect of harming the health of European citizens.
2) Damage the Nutritional Therapy (NT) profession
Nutritional therapists have an effective and growing role in promoting healthy eating and lifestyles in society. The use of therapeutic supplement doses is a important part of the NT tool kit, and abolishing access to them will damage the profession for no health gain whatsoever.
3) Undermine the importance of good science in policy making
Because of the total lack of evidence of their harm, justification for banning therapeutic doses is necessarily based purely on speculation (e.g. 'somebody could overdose', 'a harmful interaction with medication could occur'). Yes, anything is possible, but in the absence of a serious adverse event due to nutrient supplementation in Ireland in over 40 years of accumulated use the actual, data-based risk is too small to calculate. (The equivalent safety data from USA are even more impressive).
4) Fuel cynicism about the EU's motives, priorities and integrity
When Irish supplement consumers are made aware of the FSD and its implications, and the true safety situation, the majority spontaneously interpret this as the EU placing business/trade/corporate interests before its citizens' health.
5) Damage the chance of a 'Yes' vote in Lisbon 2
Again, the implications of the FSD strengthen doubts about Europe's direction, governance and integrity. Very many people, myself included, who have long supported the EU in much of its excellent work now worry deeply about the direction Brussels seems to be heading. The FSD, along with other upcoming directives that will effectively emaciate several complementary health care disciplines, are setting Europe on a very troubling path that will surely represent the last straw for numerous wavering voters.
6) Complicate the re-election of MEPs
At the next EU elections, many voters will be asking if you support or oppose the FSD and likeminded directives. How will you respond?
In summary - Many informed people recognize that the EU is implementing a deliberate, long-term strategy to weaken or destroy certain natural health behaviours, approaches and disciplines by outlawing their therapeutic tools. The FSD is the current concern. Justifying the need for draconian restrictions on micronutrient intakes using bogus safety fears is an all-too-obvious red-herring that places the EU in a very bad light.
Irish Institute of Nutrition & Health
6 Carlton Terrace
PS I wonder if Brussels has anything to say about the huge black market in therapeutic supplement doses that is destined to emerge if the FSD is adopted. What price safety when that takes off?...