Before I present this petition about the threats to herbal remedies and vitamin supplements on behalf of my constituents, may I say that there are three main concerns? First, nutrients are missing from the list of permitted ingredients in the food supplements directive. Secondly, the setting of maximum levels for nutrients is unsatisfactory. There are very real worries that the products outside the scope of the traditional herbal medicinal products directive should be included. Member states need to be able to introduce their own national rules. There are also concerns about the cost of implementation.
Thirdly, the proposed ban on sales of kava kava products is based on questionable data. I draw the House's attention to early-day motion 183, in my name, which attracted 44 signatures just last night. We will all regret the fact that the proposed regulatory response is disproportionate.
The petition states:
The petition of Consumers for Health Choice and its supporters declares that consumers in the UK have for many years maintained good health by choosing to take safe vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal remedies; and fears that the European food supplements directive and the proposed European directive on traditional herbal medicinal products would severely restrict the number and range of such products on general retail sale in the future.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons requires that the Secretary of State for Health does all in his power to protect the rights of UK consumers by ensuring that such European legislation does not unnecessarily and unacceptably restrict the availability of natural health products.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
To lie upon the Table.