For immediate release 24 January 2005


The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) is set for the hearing of its landmark case tomorrow (Tuesday 25th January 2005) which challenges the Food Supplement Directive's (FSD), ban on vitamins and minerals due to come into effect on 1 August 2005.

Oral submissions in the case which is being brought by the ANH and Nutri-Link Ltd, will be heard before 13 Judges in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. ANH is challenging the FSD's blanket ban on food supplements across Europe under the Directive. The key argument being presented is that this ban is illegal under European law. It infringes the Court's case law and there is no scientific justification for it.

The impact of this Directive, if allowed to be implemented in its current form, will be to remove access to over 300 vitamin and mineral ingredients currently available to UK consumers which translates into over 5000 products. These include such commonly taken supplements as the main natural forms of Vitamin E, many forms of vitamin C and MSM and minerals such as vanadium, silicon and boron, all being products
which millions of consumers choose to take as part of their regular health regime and have done so without any ill effects for many years. The adverse effects of these restrictions will be similar across other European countries particularly in Sweden, Holland and Ireland.

The ANH states that such restrictions are entirely unnecessary as there is absolutely no scientific justification to suggest that the food supplements currently available in the EU are anything other than totally safe. It points out that food supplements are already sufficiently regulated for safety under existing EU and Member States' food law. Many of the world's leading doctors and scientists who specialise in the field of nutrition support the ANH on this position.

Indeed, the UK Government has stated that the FSD's ban on nutrients in products which the UK currently considers safe reduces consumer choice and is "unnecessary" (UK Regulatory Impact Assessment on UK Regulations implementing FSD). But in a volte-face it is now one of only three EU member states that has tabled objections to the challenge being heard tomorrow, the other two being Portugal and Greece.

The UK Regulatory Impact Assessment also highlights that the negative economic impact of such a ban is anticipated to be significant for many UK manufacturers, distributors and independent health product retailers.

Leading the ANH case will be Paul Lasok QC, from Monckton Chambers, who is a world renowned expert on EU law.

Commenting, David Hinde, Legal Director of the ANH said:

"Presented by expert EU law barristers and firmly underpinned by existing European case law, we believe our challenge is extremely strong. Our aim is that the Court will be left with a very clear appreciation and rationale as to why this quite arbitrary ban is fundamentally flawed and unsustainable. The freedom of European citizens to make their own safe health choices should not be taken away from them."

Dr Robert Verkerk, Executive Director of ANH added:

"We have the firm support of many of the world's leading scientific and medical experts in nutrition. Based on the most recent results of international research, the evidence conclusively shows that the nutrients under threat of the ban are not only safe but also beneficial in promoting optimum health in many millions of people. Based upon the premise of good science and good law this ban should be overturned."


For enquiries and further information contact:

Alliance for Natural Health

David C. Hinde, Solicitor, Legal Director
Tel: 0207 738 1640
Mobile: 07958 548 186
E-mail: [email protected]

Dr Robert Verkerk, Executive Director
Tel: 01252 371 275
Mobile: 0771 484 7225
E-mail: [email protected]

IKON Associates
(PR for the Alliance for Natural Health)

Adrian Shaw
Tel: 01483 535102
Mobile: 0797 9900733
E-mail: [email protected]

Notes for editors:

  1. The Alliance for Natural Health is a Europe-wide association of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, consumers and complimentary practitioners who have an interest in food supplements. More information, including details of members, will be found at

    Good science and good law underpin all of the ANH's work, and the scientific reports produced by the ANH are endorsed by many of the world's leading doctors and scientists working in the field of nutrition.

  2. Nutri-Link Ltd is a specialist distributor and retailer of food supplements in the UK.