Articles

EHPM Manifesto for healthier citizens and a stronger economy in the EU

 

The full manifesto is available for download here.

 

Overwhelming evidence now supports the beneficial effects of food supplements on health, and within a balanced and healthy diet, the intake of food supplements contributes to keeping people healthy and containing healthcare costs. The European Federation of Health Product Manufacturers – representing approximately 1,600 specialist health-product manufacturers and distributors (mostly SMEs) – aims to improve the enabling legislative environment for the sector that promotes innovation, supports economic growth and fosters cooperation with national healthcare systems for the benefit of all Europeans. 

While the European Food Supplement Directive has been an important tool in achieving sustained growth for the European food supplements sector in the recent years, additional regulatory improvements are needed to reach the sector’s full potential. As a new political term at the EU level is starting, EHPM is committed to work on the following enablers to ensure that the food supplement sector contributes to healthier citizens and a stronger economy in the years ahead:

 

Mutual Recognition and General Food Law review:As many companies in the food supplements sector have had difficulties accessing the full EU market, EHPM welcomes the revised Mutual Recognition Regulation that is expected to facilitate the free movement of goods in the EU. EHPM will continue to facilitate the implementation of the revised regulation. Additionally, EHPM has called for the implementation of meaningful pre-submission consultations between companies and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in the revised General Food Law Regulation.

 

REFIT of EU Legislation on Nutrition and Health Claim:EHPM has contributed to the Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) evaluation process of the EU legislation on nutrition and health claims. The current framework is alien to the culture of the food industry and beyond its expertise and resources, which is why only a small number of health claims have been authorized, thereby limiting the information available to consumers.EHPM has been working on an authorization process that would address the requirement for scientific stringency, be practical for the industry and, above all, provide consumers with the of information that they demand on the foods they purchase and consume.

 

A tailored approach to the safety assessment of botanicals: EHPM calls for a tailored approach to the use of Art. 8 of Regulation 1925/2006, which is the legislative tool used to assess the safety of ingredients. This procedure can be applied to botanicals, that represent more than 60 percent of the food supplements market in Europe. EHPM is therefore working in cooperation with academics from multiple EU Member States to develop proper guidelines for the safety evaluations of botanicals.

 

Acknowledgement of the term “Probiotic”:EHPM believes that the use of the term “contains probiotics” should be permitted in the EU. This will create a labelling environment that consumers can trust and will allow consumers to make informed choices about the products they purchase and consume.

 

Support innovation: Innovation is key for the development of the food supplements sector and essential in order to provide consumers with products that meet their current demand for more natural solutions. Under the current EU regulatory framework, investments in innovation are strongly hindered as companies cannot afford to invest in innovation without the certainty that the ingredients they use and the health claims they make will be authorised in the EU market. This is especially true for SMEs.

 

E-commerce and fake news: EHPM recognizes the opportunities imbedded in e-commerce but asks for a level playing field to avoid unfair competition from countries with less strict rules. In addition, EHPM believes that promoting effective, truthful and professional communication to all stakeholders to clearly define the identity and function of food supplements is central to overcome flawed comparisons with other products.

 

Safety and quality: EHPM developed the EHPM Quality Guide to provide a practical guidance for companies throughout the production process to ensure high quality standards. That is why EHPM supports the implementation of a post-market vigilance system for food supplements, that would allow the companies to collect a high amount of useful data on their products, including their adverse effects.

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