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Food Supplements Directive

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether officials in her Department have held discussions with the Better Regulation Task Force on a regulatory impact assessment in relation to setting maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals under the food supplements directive; and if she will make a statement; (70011)

(2) when she last met the EU Commissioner responsible for implementation of the food supplements directive to discuss its potential impact on the choice of products available to British consumers; and what progress was made at the meeting;

(3) what progress is being made by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in meeting counterparts from competent authorities in each other member state of the EU to discuss the setting of maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals under the food supplements directive; and what further action the FSA is planning to promote her objectives;

(4) when she expects member states to receive from the European Commission the consultation document on setting the maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals under the food supplements directive;

(5) with which other EU member states she has held recent meetings to discuss setting the maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals under the food supplements directive; and with which other member states she plans to hold discussions.

The issue of obtaining data for a regulatory impact assessment in relation to setting maximum levels for vitamin and minerals under the food supplements directive has been discussed with the Better Regulation Task Force (BRTF). The BRTF has agreed in principle to this and officials will discuss this further with the BRTF.

I spoke with the European Union Commissioner responsible for implementation of the food supplements directive to discuss its potential impact on the choice of products available to British consumers on 7 and 12 July 2005.

To date, Food Standards Agency (FSA) officials have met counterparts from other competent authorities in the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Finland, France and Italy. These meetings have provided an opportunity for an exchange of views on the setting of maximum safe levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements. The FSA will seek further opportunities for meetings with officials from other member states and interested parties.

The European Commission has indicated that it will present discussion documents in autumn 2006 to gain views from member states about the setting of maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements.

The Public Health Minister has written to her counterparts in other member states and members of the European Parliament informing them of the United Kingdom's position on setting maximum permitted levels, and that FSA officials will be visiting certain member states to discuss this issue and vitamins and vitamins and minerals in food supplements.