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Ban on Certain Vitamins and Minerals Violates E.U. Law

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Nutraingredients highlights a warning by Alliance for Natural Health UK (ANH-UK) that the British Food Standards Agency’s proposal to ban certain vitamins and minerals in 2010 violates European Union law. ANH-UK argues that the agency’s new list of approved minerals and vitamins — which adds 69 to the current roster of 112 approved products —is inadequate and may even be illegal. By outlawing hundreds of products that for years have been sold legally in the United Kingdom and elsewhere within the European Union, the Food Standards Agency would reduce consumer choice.

In particular, ANH-UK addresses the threat to vanadium. There is no evidence that certain forms of the element pose any risk at commonly recommended dosages. The blanket ban on vanadium not only makes little scientific sense but conflicts with the ruling on the ANH-UK case in the European Court of Justice in 2005. Paragraph 73 of the ruling states that a substance may not be banned unless scientific assessment has proven it poses a genuine risk to public health.
Rob Verkerk, Ph.D., executive and scientific director of ANH-UK, writes: Member States need to review their decisions to implement the Commission’s proposed draft Regulation in the light of existing European case law, including that relating to our case that was ruled on in 2005. The industry needs to get serious about submitting further dossiers including safety and bioavailability data for many of the ingredients that will be lost as of January next year. We also need to see much more transparency and a level playing field in the evaluation process used by EFSA, as well as the way in which opinions are interpreted by the European Commission and Member States.”

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