HL Deb 21 May 2002 vol 635 c94WA
Baroness Ludford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the likely impact of the draft European directive on food supplements (COD/2000/0080) on manufacturers of food supplements and health food shops selling food supplements; and what approach they will take with regard to this draft directive in any discussions in the Council of Ministers. [HL4291]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Food Standards Agency has consulted widely on the likely impact of this directive.

The directive will inevitably impose new labelling costs, although these will be partially mitigated by the two-year transitional period provided for. The task of setting maximum limits for individual vitamins and minerals falls to the Commission acting on the advice of the EU Scientific Committee for Food (SCF). Setting unnecessarily low maximum permitted levels for nutrients in food supplements would have a detrimental impact on both manufacturers and health food retailers and would place an unnecessary restriction on consumer choice. The Food Standards Agency will be encouraging the SCF to liaise closely with the UK's Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals which is already in the process of carrying out similar assessments.

In any future Council discussions, the UK will continue to argue against restricting consumer choice in this area so long as all products placed on the market are safe and properly labelled.