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To protect consumers against potential health risks arising from the consumption of food supplements and to ensure that they are not provided with misleading information, food supplements are covered by European and national laws and regulations on food safety.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Food supplements are concentrated sources of nutrients (i.e. mineral and vitamins) or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect that are marketed in “dose” form (e.g. pills, tablets, capsules, liquids in measured doses). Food supplements are intended to correct nutritional deficiencies, maintain an adequate intake of certain nutrients, or to support specific physiological functions. They are not medicinal products and as such cannot exert a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic effect.

Food supplements are only intended to ‘supplement’ people’s diets and not replace healthy foods.  The regulation of food supplements makes clear that food supplements are not intended to replace a varied and balanced diet and food supplements packaging is required to state this information.

Because food supplements are considered as food, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer, importer, supplier or distributor to ensure that a food supplement placed on the market is safe.

EU Member States may, for monitoring purposes, request notification of the placing on the market in their territory of a food supplement. Once the product is on the market, the competent authority of the Member State may monitor its use and safety in that territory.

Following an assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Commission may take a decision to include a certain substance in a list of substances whose use in foods is prohibited, restricted or under scrutiny. This may happen when the addition of a substance in food products increases its exposure to levels greatly exceeding the normal consumption and/or poses a potential risk to consumers.

Directive 2002/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 June 2002 partially harmonizes the rules for placing food supplements on the European market. The scope of the Directive includes all food supplements with certain requirements, in particular those relating to labeling particulars, which apply to all food supplements, whatever their composition.

INDUSTRY NEWS & UPDATES

New Formaldehyde Threshold in Cosmetic Products

The European Commission has issued a draft regulation to amend the preamble of Annex V regarding the threshold for labelling formaldehyde releasers. This amendment results from a scientific advice published by the SCCS concluding that the current threshold does not sufficiently protect consumers sensitized to formaldehyde.

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New Restriction on the Use of Benzophenone-3 in Cosmetics

Benzophenone-3 was part of a priority list of potential endocrine disruptors established by the European Commission in 2019. The SCCS was asked to assess the safety of this ingredient and the European Cosmetics Regulation will be amended in accordance with the SCCS assessment conclusions.

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endocrine disruptors

European Commission Calls for Data on Ingredients with Potential Endocrine-Disrupting Properties

Substances classified as endocrine disruptors are compounds that can alter the functioning of the endocrine system and negatively affect the health of humans and animals. In 2019, the European Commission set out two lists of ingredients suspected of having endocrine disrupting properties. More recently, the Commission has published a call for data for 10 ingredients that were included in the low priority group (Group B) for the SCCS to be able to assess their safety.

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SCCS Preliminary Opinion on Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

Following the mandate from the European Commission, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has published a preliminary opinion on Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT). This preliminary opinion is open for comments and the deadline was set for 23 november 2021.

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EU Prohibition of Zinc Pyrithione in Cosmetic Products

Zinc Pyrithione has been used for more than 60 years as an anti-dandruff agent in cosmetic products. Last month, the European Commission published the Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/1092, which includes this ingredient in Annex II. From March 2022 onwards, Zinc Pyrithione will be prohibited in cosmetic products.

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