Vitamins, minerals, botanicals – food supplements can help provide the body with important nutrients and contribute to the preservation of health and wellbeing. 175 top representatives from politics, public authorities, society, science and industry from all over Europe discussed current challenges at the European “Food Supplements Conference 2018 – Opportunities for consumer health” on 8 and 9 March in Berlin.
In addition to the discussion about maximum levels for vitamins and minerals, among other subjects, the legal framework for the use of botanicals and how to deal with online retail with illegal products were on the agenda of the two-day conference. Also, the significance of food supplements for health and wellbeing was one of the focal points of the technical interchange, at the invitation of the food supplements working group AK NEM in the German Food Federation BLL, as well as Food Supplements Europe.
The unified conclusion across all subject areas was that today, when consumers are shopping across borders, European solutions are decisive. For example, the urgent request of all parties became clear, that the European Commission should take the initiative and for the benefit of all should close any remaining loopholes in the harmonisation of the legal regulations.
Nationally different maximum levels and approaches
At present, there are different guidelines and recommendations in the Member states for maximum levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements, some of which are substantially different. This is neither timely nor useful for consumer protection and is contrary to the principle of the free movement of goods within the EU. There are also different approaches and traditions in the Member states with regard to the use and labelling of plant substances (botanicals) as components of food supplements, which is why a European solution was preferred by all speakers.
Framework conditions for innovation for the benefit of consumers
Especially against the background of future challenges due to social developments and changing consumer expectations, it is necessary to shape the legal framework in such a way that innovation for the wellbeing of consumers will also be possible in the future. Scientific data prove that although the nutrient supply is good on average, it has been proven that not all people can fill their nutritional needs with a well-balanced diet. Food supplements can therefore help to optimise nutrient supply.
Third international “Food Supplements Conference” in Berlin
The two day international "Food Supplements Conference" in Berlin was organised for the third time after the previous editions in 2004 and 2011 by BLL AK NEM and Food Supplements Europe and brought together decision makers from all over Europe.
Please find a detailed conference report here: