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EU Parliament Approves New Safety Rules, Labeling for Vitamins and Herbal Remedies

Mar 13, 2002 | AP

In a move to bolster consumer safety, the European Parliament on Wednesday backed plans to introduce new safety controls and labeling of vitamin pills and other food supplements.

The 626-member European Union (news - web sites) assembly unanimously passed new rules that industry critics charged will restrict access to vitamins and put health food shops out of business.

The rules, which still require final approval from EU governments, will force manufacturers of food supplements containing vitamins and minerals to provide full ingredient details within three years time.

The manufacturers will also have to list possible side effects and warnings on intake of capsules and pills on product bottles and packages. Dosage instructions will also be mandatory.

Some 300 over-the-counter pills will have to be tested by EU scientists to make sure they meet new safety and health standards.

Manufacturers claim that the new rigorous testing requirements will cost them around 400,000 euro (dlrs 351,000) per product, and said the hurdle would restrict the sale of natural remedies.

EU Health Commissioner David Byrne welcomed the parliament's vote and said the aim of the new legislation was not to ban food supplements but to provide "a wide range of safe products."

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