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Dietary Supplements: EC Law

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what support is being provided by the Food Standards Agency and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to help the Governments of the Crown Dependencies bring forward measures to meet obligations to comply with European legislation on food supplements and herbal remedies; (228576)

(2) when Ministers in his Department last discussed with the Governments of the Channel Islands concerns about the import to the United Kingdom of food supplements and herbal remedies marketed using claims which would be illegal where the products to have been placed directly on the United Kingdom market; and what the outcome was of those discussions;

(3) how many adjudications have been made by the Advertising Standards Authority in relation to complaints about the making of illegal claims in the marketing of food supplements and herbal remedies from the Channel Islands; what assessment he has made of the such adjudications; and if he will make a statement.

A meeting was held on 11 April 2008 between officials from the Food Standards Agency, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Ministry of Justice and representatives of the Crown Dependencies, at which the UK offered support to the Crown Dependencies to assist with the implementation of relevant European legislation on food supplements.

Separately, the MHRA has provided considerable support to the Government of Guernsey by reviewing Guernsey's proposed medicines law to identify those areas which require additional legislation to implement Directive 2001/83/EC on medicinal products and by providing advice as necessary. The MHRA expects to provide the same review and advice assistance to the other Crown Dependencies as they bring forward their measures to implement the Medicines Directive.

Health Ministers have not raised these matters directly with Governments of the Channel Islands. The Ministry of Justice provides the official channel of communication between the UK and the Crown Dependencies and in late 2007 and early 2008 separate meetings took place between the Chief Executives of the three Crown Dependencies and the Minister of State for Justice during which these matters were discussed.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is an independent body set up by the advertising industry to police the rules laid down in two advertising codes. These codes are the responsibility of two industry Committees of Advertising Practice—CAP (Broadcast) and CAP (Non-broadcast) and are independently administered by the ASA. As such, the information could only be obtained from the ASA.