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Food Supplements

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the expected cost to industry is of the Food Supplements Regulations (England) 2003; how many food supplements and nutrients are to be removed from sale as a result of the regulations; and what assessment her Department has made of British manufacturers' and retailers' representations on the regulations. [121909]

The United Kingdom has no choice but to implement the Food Supplements Directive in order to fulfil its obligations under the European Community treaty. The Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003 take full advantage of all the flexibility available to member states in implementing the legislation, which has been welcomed by British manufacturers and retailers of food supplements.The costs to the British food supplements industry will result from mandatory new labelling requirements in the Directive, from reformulation of products where necessary, from dossier preparation where industry chooses to do this and from possible future loss of products from the market. The Government's assessment of the costs associated with implementing the Directive, including those due to removal of products from sale, are set out in the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA). Copies have been placed in the Library.The Food Standards Agency does not hold information about the numbers of food supplement products on the UK market. According to information provided by industry, Annex I of the Food Supplements Directive excludes from use six minerals that are currently used in products marketed in the UK and around 300 chemical forms of vitamins and minerals currently used in products on the UK market are not included in Annex II. However, these may continue to be used in food supplements after 1 August 2005 provided the criteria in Article 4(6) of the Directive are met.Many groups have expressed concerns about the potential impact of the Directive, and hence the implementing Regulations, on the UK market. The Government understand these concerns, many of which are also set out in the RIA. Given anxieties about the cost of dossier production and the timescale for dossier submission, the need for a meeting with European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to discuss requirements for dossier content has now been agreed, following representations from the Food Standards Agency. The EFSA and relevant parties will meet to discuss the potential for simplified dossiers. The European Commission supports this move.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the implications for (a) specialist manufacturers, (b) specialist retailers and (c) consumer choice of the requirement to remove from the market nutrients and nutrient sources which are not listed as acceptable for such use in the Schedules to the proposed Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003. [124161]

The United Kingdom has no choice but to implement the Food Supplements Directive in order to fulfil its obligations under the European Community treaty. The Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003 take full advantage of all the flexibility available to member states in implementing the legislation.The Government recognise that some products may be lost from the UK market from 1 August 2005 because of restrictions on nutrient sources which will apply from that date. However, it is not yet possible to fully assess the implications of the Directive for specialist manufacturers, retailers and for consumer choice since these will depend upon future developments on lists of permitted nutrients and nutrient sources and on maximum limits for vitamin and minerals in food supplements.