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ECJ tightens controls on health supplements

[JURIST] The European Court of Justice Tuesday ruled in favor [judgment text; press release, PDF] of the controversial EU Food Supplements Directive [text], scheduled to come into effect August 1. The directive, approved by EU governments in 2002, uses a "positive list" system under which substances allowed in health supplements are limited to those included on an approved list. Since health food manufacturers had until today to submit scientific reports proving their ingredients are safe there is no current list of approved substances. Opponents of the legislation, headed in the UK by the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) [official website], had argued that the legislation unfairly burdened health food manufacturers with application costs to have products they've been selling for years added to the approved list. They also said the law could outlaw thousands of supplements and bankrupt health food stores. The court promised to simplify the process to approve substances, stating "An application to have a substance included on a list may be refused only on the basis of a full risk assessment, established on the basis of the most reliable scientific data available and the most recent results of international research. A refusal must also be open to challenge before the courts." The Times has more.

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