HC Deb 30 July 1998 vol 317 cc470-1W
Mr. Ian Stewart

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the Government have yet reached a decision on their proposed controls on vitamin B6.[54810]

Mr. Nick Brown

The Government have now completed their consideration of the responses to the consultation exercise on the proposed controls on dietary supplements containing vitamin B6. Copies of the responses received have been deposited in the Library. We have also deposited copies of the responses received to the consultation by the Medicines Control Agency on its parallel proposals on controls on licensed medicines containing vitamin B6.

The Government have taken full account of the Agriculture Select Committee's report on vitamin B6 and have made their response today. (The decision on when and how this is published is a matter for the Committee).

The Government's assessment of the science remains that of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) and our advice to the public will continue to reflect this. However, we accept that there is a case for delaying any action on vitamin B6 until the new Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals has completed its consideration of the wider issue of the principles on which controls for ensuring the safety of vitamin and mineral supplements sold under food law can be based. This should take between eighteen months and two years. In view of this we have concluded that a decision on legislation on the level of vitamin B6 in dietary supplements should be deferred until after the Expert Group has produced its report.

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