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Food Supplements

Volume 408: debated on Friday 11 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent meetings he has had with the natural supplements industry on legislation relating to natural supplements; what action he plans to take as a result of these representations; and if he will make a statement. [123337]

The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health met with representatives of the Health Food Manufacturer's Association to discuss the Food Supplements Directive on 9 June 2003. Issues covered in discussion fell under four main headings: nutrients and nutrient sources missing from Annexes I and II in the Food Supplements Directive and requirements for safety dossiers; the recently-published report of the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals and advice on safe upper levels therein; future setting of maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements at EU level; and plans for future action on chromium picolinate.Following representations from the Food Standards Agency, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and relevant parties will meet to discuss the potential for simplified dossier requirements and the potential for read-across between dossiers for substances which are likely to have similar toxicological profiles. The European Commission supports this move.Further, to ensure that the Government's policy objectives for regulation of food supplements in the EU are met, the Government continue to argue for maximum limits for nutrients in food supplements to be based on thorough risk assessment and set at levels which protect public health, but which neither unnecessarily limit consumer choice nor unduly restrict trade. The Government continue to press this view strongly in Brussels at every opportunity.

departmental report and in individual agency annual report and accounts.

Information on staff costs for each of the non-departmental public bodies for which the Department is responsible who employ staff for each of the years 1997–98 up to 2001–02, where available, is in the following table. Information on staff costs for 2002–03 are not included because costs for this year have not as yet been audited or published.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many substances he has succeeded in adding to the positive list of Annex II to the EU Food Supplements Directive. [123563]

The lists of permitted nutrients and nutrient sources in the annexes to the Food Supplements Directive 2002/46/EC remain open pending safety assessment of additional substances; additional nutrients or nutrient sources can be added to the relevant permitted list following a favourable assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Industry is currently working to compile safety dossiers for a number of the substances currently omitted from the annexes.Following representations from the Food Standards Agency, the EFSA and relevant parties will meet to discuss the potential for simplified dossier requirements. The European Commission supports this move.