On 27 June, a European Parliament workshop co-organised by EHPM and Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella brought together the various stakeholders involved in and subject to the regulatory rules on botanical food supplements. The workshop had over 70 participants including MEPs, Commission officials, national authorities and industry stakeholders. The workshop:
- Highlighted existing examples of botanicals regulation from Members States. Philippe Mortier, Guillaume Cousyn and Bruno Scarpa from the Belgian, French and Italian authorities respectively participated in the discussions and shared national experiences. These speakers also highlighted the potential of the BELFRIT project through which Belgium, Italy and France have developed a common list of botanicals and conditions for their use in food/food supplements.
- Illustrated the economic contribution of the botanical food supplement sector to the EU economy through a presentation by EHPM Chairman Alban Maggiar
- Provided participants with a real insight into the quality and safety procedures applied by companies manufacturing botanical food supplements – This was achieved through a presentation from Michel Horn from the Belgian company ORTIS
- Featured a strong speech from Irish MEP Marian Harkin emphasising the need to create a regulatory structure for botanicals that takes into account that most of the companies in the sector are SMEs and respects the “Think Small First” principle. Concluded with a panel discussion on how to combine consumer protection and safety with SME friendly regulation. Eric Poudelet from the European Commission and French MEP Gilles Pargneaux joined the other speakers at the workshop in the panel.
Following the workshop, EHPM Chairman Alban Maggiar reflecting on the discussions noted that:
It is very clear that through sharing the expertise from national authorities in Member States that have a long history of using botanicals in foods and foods supplements, the basis for workable EU system already exists. The European Commission and Member States continue to reflect on the most appropriate approach to take to the regulation of botanicals”
Following the workshop, the host Marc Tarabella summed up the event by saying:
My objective in organizing this workshop was to highlight existing best practice and the fact that a system that is workable for SMEs and provides adequate protection for consumers is possible. I hope the event has been useful for all participants
EHPM would like to thank Marc Tarabella for facilitating the debate on this topic by organizing the workshop and the Commission officials, MEPs, national authorities and industry stakeholders that participated. EHPM’s position paper on botanicals can be downloaded from the EHPM website – www.ehpm.org.
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