The Alliance for Natural Health wins case over natural sources of vitamins and minerals

Since the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in July 2005, the ANH, seemingly a lone voice in the crowd, has firmly upheld that natural sources of vitamins and minerals were outside the scope of the Food Supplements Directive (FSD). Almost exactly two years to the day since the ruling, this has now been confirmed by the European Commission, in what promises to be a critical victory for natural health.

The ANH has received a letter this week, jointly signed by two heads of unit at the European Commission, which indicates clearly that natural sources of vitamins and minerals, which could have been subject to a ban EU-wide, will escape the draconian EU Food Supplements Directive, and will now be regulated as foods. This reverses the position of the European Commission’s legal unit given to ANH in March 2006 and upholds the ANH’s interpretation of the ECJ’s 2005 ruling.

In a strategic move in March 2007, the ANH made multiple submissions to the FSD Positive List. The nutrients used for these submissions were chosen carefully to test the ECJ ruling on natural sources and include wheat germ oil as a source of full spectrum vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), palm oil as a source of vitamin E tocotrienols and palm fruits as a source of provitamin A mixed carotenoids.

The letter from Mr Demetris Vryonides, Head of Unit “Legal Affairs” and Mr Basil Mathioudakis, Head of Unit “Food, law, nutrition and labelling”, states: “We consider that wheat germ oil can be used in food supplements without having to be authorised and included on Annex II of the Directive. For similar reasons the dossiers on mixed carotenoids, food derived folates, [and two proprietary palm blends containing carotenoids and tocotrienols respectively] will not be processed further.”

Dr Robert Verkerk, ANH executive and scientific director, said “We are delighted to finally have this clarification from the European Commission on a point of law the ANH has been aware of since the ECJ ruling. The wider implications for the industry are far reaching and effectively open the door to supplements containing nutrients derived from natural sources.”

Dr Damien Downing, ANH medical director, indicated, “This is a great relief for patients and practitioners, and a vindication of the position that the ANH has maintained throughout. Now it's time to prepare for the next battle, as this fight is by no means over.

The ANH will continue to maintain scrutiny over the procedures used by the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority in the handling of the remaining dossiers submitted earlier this year. The ANH has drawn attention to significant problems in the scientific methods being used to determine maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals, an issue that is subject to impending EU law. ENDS.