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Is it true that the EU is going to limit what sort of vitamins we can take

01:00 Mon 11th Mar 2002 |

asks PDTV:
A.
It looks likely that as many as 90% of the multivitamin and multi-mineral formulas we buy at health food shops will disappear if a European directive becomes law on Wednesday (March 13).


High-dose vitamins and minerals are used by about 12 million people in the UK to help keep healthy or to treat illnesses from colds to heart disease. The total UK market was worth �376 million in 2001 - direct sales made up another �60-�70 million.

Q. Why is it happening
A.
In this country, the laws governing the sales of vitamin and mineral supplements are supplements are fairly relaxed. But in some other European countries - such as Germany - supplements are very much restricted. The new directive aims to bring the sales of these supplements into line all over Europe, and this will have the effect of imposing Germany's limitations on sales in the UK.

Q. Do we know which supplements are to be restricted
A.
The lists of permitted supplements and their sources have already been drawn up, and they exclude more than 300 items which are now available in this country. The supplements which will be most affected are those formulas which contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals.

Q. What sort of things will be excluded
A.
Ingredients which are not on the list include: boron, needed for healthy teeth and bones - it's found in raisins, prunes and almonds; and sulphur, which helps to healthy skin - it's found in cabbage, dried beans, and eggs.

Q. Is there any way of adding banned nutrients to the list
A.
Manufacturers can put forward a case for supplements to be put on the list - but they must be able to prove their efficacy and safety. Research trials are very lengthy and expensive processes - the sort of thing that can be undertaken easily by a huge multi-national drug companies, but are prohibitively expensive for small supplement manufacturers.

Q. So, let me get this right: I can legally drink and smoke myself to death but I'm going to be told which supplements I can take to improve my health
A.
That's about right.

Q. Where can I find out more
A.
Visit the Consumer for Health Choice website.

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By Sheena Miller

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