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News of the Day ... In Perspective

8/12/2005

European court upholds restriction on sale of food supplements

The European Unionís highest court has upheld a law approved 3 years ago that establishes a list of vitamins and minerals that may be used in food supplements.

Under rules that were scheduled to go into effect August 1, only dietary supplements on the approved list can go on sale. Products already on the market before July 2002 will get a 4-year extension, providing that the manufacturer made an application to go on the approved list before July 12.

In April, the advocate general, the senior lawyer who advises the court, maintained that the rules were disproportionate and violated some basic legal principles. However, the full court decided otherwise.

Opponents of the legislation said it would ban hundreds of popular vitamin pills. The European Commission denied that this would happen (British Medical Journal 2005;331:180).

Additional information:

AAPS RESOLUTION 61-03, 2004: Supporting Freedom for Patients and Physicians to Choose Natural Remedies

Codex Alimentarius, Nutritional Supplements, and Consumer Freedom, AAPS News, August 2005, Legislative Supplement

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