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Vitamin B6

Volume 589: debated on Monday 11 May 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have received a copy of the Report

Dietary Reference Intakes published by the Institute of Medicine of the American Academy of Sciences on 7 April; and whether they intend to take into account the conclusions of that report in the context of their consultation exercise on the proposed restrictions on the retail sale of vitamin B6; and [HL1732]

Whether they accept the assertion in the recent letter to the Minister of Food Safety from Dr. John Hathcock that the American Academy of Sciences Report on Dietary Reference Intakes constitutes the most authoritative assessment of the safety of vitamin B6 in existence. [HL1735]

We have received a pre-publication copy of the report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine on Dietary Reference Intakes. We have already made it clear that we will take account of the NAS report and any new scientific evidence submitted in response to the consultation exercise on its proposed restrictions on the retail sale of vitamin B6.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they intend to ask the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment to review its advice on the safety of vitamin B6 supplements in the light of the report by the American Academy of Sciences which concluded that there are no credible reports of adverse effects from intakes of vitamin B6 of 200 mg or less; and [HL1733]Whether they intend to respond to the conclusion of the recent American Academy of Sciences Report on

Dietary Reference Intakes that the weaknesses of the study by Dalton and Dalton, which was relied upon heavily by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment in formulating its advice on vitamin B6 safety, "rule out the use of these data to base a UL [upper limit]". [HL1734]

The Chairman of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) has already considered issues arising out of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on Dietary Reference Intakes and his initiated discussions on these with the chairman of the Institute of Medicine's sub-committee on upper reference levels of nutrients, Dr. Ian Munro. The NAS's views on the safety of vitamin B6 will be considered in more detail by the COT along with any new scientific data that may be submitted during the current consultation on the draft regulations required to implement the proposed controls on dietary supplements containing vitamin B6. The COT's response will be published.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they intend to meet any of those scientists involved in the writing and pre-publication review of the recent American Academy of Sciences Report on

Dietary Reference Intakes to discuss the conclusions of that report in relation to the safety of vitamin B6. [HL1736]

Arrangements are being made for a meeting between officials from MAFF and the COT Secretariat at the Department of Health with Dr. John Hathcock of the US Council for Responsible Nutrition—an association of the dietary supplements industry—and others who were involved in the writing and pre-publication review of the recent American Academy of Sciences Report on Dietary Reference Intakes.