Food supplements as part of dietary recommendations – A dream?


Patrick Coppens
Director Regulatory and Scientific Affairs
Food Supplements Europe
Brussels, Belgium

Despite the fact that millions of consumers use food supplements every day and the impressive volume of new scientific findings highlighting benefits of dietary components for heath published every year, it is remarkable that policy makers continue to see food supplements more as a concern than as a tool for public health.

The long track record of safety can apparently not avoid that food supplements remain associated with concern about their safety and some policy makers seem to have taken it upon them to protect consumers from such products.

It is understandable and very much appreciated that authorities take action against products that are fraudulent or adulterated and not in conformity with the law. However, why policy makers would want to make the law even stricter to remove products from the market that are perfectly safe and beneficial for consumers is more difficult to understand. In particular, attempts to restrict the maximum levels of vitamins and minerals allowed in food supplements are surprising in the light of the general nutritional status of the population.

The reality is that policy makers in general do not see food supplements as a nec ...