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  • Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, Volume 66, Issue 4
  • November 2007, pp. 508-511

Nutritional supplements and the EU: is anyone happy?

  • Christine Eberhardie (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0029665107005824
  • Published online: 25 October 2007
Abstract

In 2000 an estimated £335×106 was spent on food supplements and herbal remedies in the UK. Until recently, The Trades Description Act 1968, the Food Safety Act 1990 and The Food Labelling Regulations 1996 (amended 2004) were the only form of regulation available to protect the public. The medical community has been concerned about the risk to patients of inaccurate dosages and poor-quality products as well as drug–nutrient and nutrient–nutrient interactions. Following growing concern about the type and quality of food supplements and herbal remedies available in the EU, the European Commission has published directives regulating food supplements (2002/46/EC) and herbal remedies (2004/24/EC and 2004/27/EC) available within the EU. The directives came into force in 2005 and limit the number and quality of permitted food supplements through the creation of a ‘positive list’ of approved supplements. In the present paper the new regulatory frameworks and the implications for the food supplement manufacturers, traditional and complementary therapists, the healthcare professions and patients will be examined. It would appear that there is considerable dissatisfaction with the regulations in their present form. Several questions remain: is regulation the answer; who decides which nutrients go on the positive list; what effect has the regulation had on patient safety and patient choice?

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Christine Eberhardie, fax +44 20 8725 2248, email ceberhar@hscs.sgul.ac.uk
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

11.E Ernst (2002) Adulteration of Chinese herbal medicines with synthetic drugs: a systematic review. J Intern Med 252, 107113.

21.CA Morris & J Avorn (2003) Internet marketing of herbal products. JAMA 290, 15051509.

24.J Barnes (2003) Quality, efficacy and safety of complementary medicines: fashions, facts and the future. Part 1. Regulation and quality. Br J Clin Pharmacol 55, 226233.

28.RE Ferner & K Beard (2005) Regulating herbal medicines in the UK. Br Med J 331, 6263.

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Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
  • ISSN: 0029-6651
  • EISSN: 1475-2719
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society
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