Greens claim EU directive may limit access to vitamins


THE GREEN Party is concerned that changes to the EU Food Supplements Directive will limit consumers' access to off-the-shelf vitamins and mineral supplements.

The party's health spokeswoman Senator Deirdre de Búrca said the changes agreed by the Department of Health amounted to over-regulation and would impose unnecessary restrictions on consumer rights.

"Under the terms of this directive, the department has agreed that the vitamins and minerals currently available for purchase off the shelf should be reduced to low levels," Ms de Búrca said.

"This will mean that consumers will not be able to self- select food supplements at strengths above the recommended daily allowance."

A spokeswoman for the department said the setting of maximum levels for vitamins and minerals should not in itself cause major cost or hardship for consumers.

"This [directive] ensures that consumers in Ireland are protected by the harmonised EU rules on the sale of food supplements."

She said it was not foreseen that a prescription would be required to purchase food supplements that complied with the levels set by this process.