ANH Press Release 2/9/06

How Codex and other supplement regulation laws may impact the availability of supplements

ANH Press Release 2/9/06

Postby pcnetwrx » Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:16 am

Alliance for Natural Health keeps the ball rolling in landmark lawsuit

The Alliance for Natural Health, the not-for-profit campaign organisation that pioneered a landmark legal action against a proposed EU ban on thousands of food supplements, has informed the UK government and High Court in London of its intention to continue its legal action.

Widespread publicity following the European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment, handed down on 12th July 2005, implied that all had been lost since the Food Supplements Directive, the target of the challenge, had been upheld.

The ECJ ruling came as a surprise to many given an opinion issued in April 2005 by a senior advisor to the Court, Advocate General Leendert Geelhoed. Geelhoed had referred to the Food Supplements Directive ?as transparent as a black box? and proposed that it contravened basic principles of European Community law and so was invalid under EU law.

The ANH has argued from the outset that the Court, in its judgment, has actually delivered a solution that takes into account the main concerns raised in its legal challenge, yet allows the Directive to be upheld. This approach has two major benefits over invalidating the Directive: it avoids the need to re-negotiate a new Directive, whilst it also allows the European institutions to save face.

Recently appointed Legal Director for the ANH, barrister Robert Collins, says, ?The ANH?s legal challenge is not yet complete. We need still to go back to the High Court in London where the challenge was initiated. The ANH intends to show how the Statutory Instrument that transposes the EU Directive into English and Welsh law is seriously out of step with the European Court?s judgment.?

Collins continues, ?Recently we have had some very constructive discussions with the UK?s Food Standards Agency and we are hopeful that we can work collaboratively with the government towards a solution.?

Collins apparently demonstrated to the Food Standards Agency some of the key contradictions between the Statutory Instrument (the Food Supplements Regulations 2003) and the Court?s judgment. He showed, for example, that the judgment clearly demonstrates that the Directive does not apply to food supplements whose ingredients include plant extracts and other nutrients for which their use remains under national rules.

Says Collins, ?We are hopeful that the British government, the party with which we initiated the challenge, will work constructively with us towards a solution. Our lead barrister, Paul Lasok QC at Monckton Chambers, argues that there is now a statutory requirement to change the national laws to bring them into line with the European Court judgment. The UK government is in a strong position to take a lead on this, and this will force similar changes in other EU member states. Without these changes, the Directive will not serve its intended purposes of harmonising laws across the EU and protecting consumers. Many people in different countries are fed up with over-zealous EU laws, and this is a landmark case which might help people to regain respect and faith in European law.?

Dr Robert Verkerk, Executive & Scientific Director of the ANH adds, ?The European Food Supplements Directive, as it was originally proposed, would have acted as a massive barrier to innovative, food-form supplements. The ECJ ruling, once adopted into Member State laws, opens the door to natural, food-form nutrients. Instead of running frightened from this Directive, we need to see its potential as a means to a permissive regime with key similarities to the regime offered by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act 1994 in the United States.?

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