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The role of food supplements in improving health in the EU


The role of food supplements in improving health in the EU


Food supplements are concentrated sources of nutrients (or other substances) with a nutritional or physiological effect. They are typically taken in “dose” form, such as pills, tablets, capsules, liquids in measured doses.

The European Commission's Food Supplements Directive of 2002 aims to protect consumers against potential health risks from food supplements products and to ensure that they are not provided with misleading information. It also establishes a core framework for the marketing of supplements in the EU. With respect to the safety of food supplements, the Directive lays down a harmonised list of vitamins and minerals that may be added for nutritional purposes in food supplements.

Over the past 20 years, the market in supplements has developed significantly and there has been a much greater recognition by consumers. In addition to the 2002 framework, a wide range of EU food legislation is in place which covers food supplements. This includes additives, contaminants, labelling, hygiene claims.

The European Commission is also working on two areas that are not currently harmonised at the EU level: the maximum levels of permitted vitamins and minerals in food supplements, and the use of botanical ingredients.

Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to discuss what a potential policy framework for supplements could look like, given the regulatory environment is broadly in place. Questions to be addressed include:

- How can supplements play a role in helping build more resilient societies and reduce the burden on national health systems?
- Since deficiencies in a range of vitamins and minerals still exist in the EU, can supplements help redress this imbalance?
- Can food supplements help governments achieve their objective of keeping an ageing EU population healthy and productive?

Supported by:




Sara Cerdas MEP, Member ENVI Committee, European Parliament
Kerli Ats, Member Diversity Europe (Group III), European Economic and Social Committee and Director of the Estonian Farmers’ Federation
Dr. Philip Calder, President, Federation of European Nutrition Societies and Professor of Nutritional Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton
Dr. Bernd Haber, Board Member, Food Supplements Europe


Mariam Zaidi, Journalist, EURACTIV


14:30 – 14:35 Welcome
14:35 – 14:50 Panellist statements
14:50 – 15:40 Discussion and Q&A
15:40 – 15:45 Closing statements


Ana Alexandrescu

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Food supplements: Policymakers ask for more consumer information, fewer grey areas

Food supplements: Policymakers ask for more consumer information, fewer grey areas

The use of food supplements is on the rise in Europe and this has prompted calls from stakeholders and lawmakers to revise the 20-year-old legislation currently in place and make sure it is applied uniformly across the bloc.