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asked Her Majesty's Government:
What assessment they have made of the impact upon consumer choice and the United Kingdom food supplements industry of the possible setting by the European Union of maximum permitted levels for nutrients in food supplements at levels substantially lower than those which are currently permitted in the United Kingdom.
The Government's firm position is that safety should be the primary concern, and that maximum limits should be set at levels that are based on scientific risk assessments and not limited by considerations of nutritional need, thus protecting public health without unnecessarily limiting consumer choice or unduly restricting trade.
Article 5 of Directive 2002/46/EC on food supplements sets out principles for setting EU maximum limits for vitamins and minerals in food supplements, although no specific figures have yet been set. Discussion on maximum limits at EU level will follow publication of advice from the European Food Safety Authority. We do not expect the European Commission to issue its proposal on maximum limits before the end of this year.