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Save Our Supplements

Save Our Supplements Campaign


There are a number of pieces of legislation, mainly from Europe, which threaten your right to purchase the range of food supplements and remedies. You may have been asked to sign petitions or write letters by your local National Association of Health Stores (NAHS) member health food store over the past few years. If you have lent your support to our campaign in the past, thank you very much! The government has been made very aware of the strength of public opinion.

As a member of the NAHS your local health store has supported our activities such as taking the government to court over the ban of the safe and popular herb Kava Kava. Then the NAHS initiated the legal challenge against the Food Supplements Directive which ended up at the European Court of Justice. We regularly attend meetings with ministers, parliamentarians, and officials to ensure continuing sale of safe and effective supplements.

By shopping in an NAHS member store you will be among the first to hear of new developments and you will be helping to support our fight.

As a consumer of natural remedies the NAHS strongly recommends that you support the campaign organisation, Consumers for Health Choice (CHC). You will find more information about them at the end of the page or by visiting their website,

In addition to Consumers for Health Choice, the NAHS also works closely with the Health Food Manufacturers Association in order to ensure the best possible outcome for you, the consumers of remedies.

The 3 Immediate Threats to Consumer Choice

  • The Food Supplements Directive (Vitamins & Minerals) From July 2005, the majority of the 200 or so ‘missing ingredients’ have been given special permission to remain on the market, but this is at best only until 2009. In the meantime, products remain vulnerable as authorities could still require their removal from the market well before 2009. Perhaps the greatest threat to consumer’s choice is in the setting of dose levels for all nutrients, which has been on the back burner until now, but could eventually see many higher dose specialist products removed from the market. The consultation document on the setting of ‘Maximum Permitted Levels’ should be revealed in the Spring of 2006, and the health food trade will be monitoring it closely. However, while we have all lobbied for levels to be based on sound science, the EU Commission accepts that this is more a political issue than a scientific one.

    The good news is that Caroline Flint MP, the new Minister for Health, seems firmly on the consumers’ side. As a direct response to the pressure exerted by CHC at all political levels, the Minister announced that the Government would lobby Europe for a “two tier” position previously recommended by the Food Standard Agency. The achievement of such a position would secure the highest possible levels for vitamins and minerals throughout Europe, whilst defending the right of the UK to set higher safe levels if required.
  • The Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (Herbal Remedies) The Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive 2004/24/EC was implemented in the UK on 30th October ’05. Without question, CHC played a key role in moving this topic up the political agenda whilst the legislation was being developed in EU, but there are many problems with it – not least because registration is only allowed for a product that can demonstrate a minimum of 30 years use – 15 of which must have been within the European Union. Most manufacturers of herbal remedies are divided on this issue, with some wanting the Directive to tightly control the market so that their licensed products can flourish, while others recognise that many safe and popular products could be lost and smaller specialist companies destroyed – essentially because the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is treating herbs as pharmaceutical drugs and demanding excessively high fees to examine / register each individual product. The average cost of a single registration application is more than £40,000 (£1 million if they have 25 products) – beyond the capability of small specialist herbal companies.

    NAHS and CHC firmly believe that consumer safety is paramount. It is a black or white issue. We are determined to keep safe herbal remedies available to consumers and so are piling pressure on MHRA to keep fees at a realistic level. With the co-operation of supportive MPs, CHC has achieved a cross-party Early Day Motion, No: 1103, now signed by 82 MPs, asking MRHA to ensure that practical solutions are found in order to minimise burdens upon business and maintain consumer choice - without compromising safety. We believe MHRA could be more flexible and agree to keep as many herbs as possible available under food law; they could also make grants available to very small companies to help with costs of compliance. If they feel unable to grant financial assistance, MHRA could seek financial support from EU.
  • The Nutrition & Health Claims (Made on Foods) Regulations It is critical to the health food trade that consumers need quality advice in order to make informed choices. The fact that manufacturers of supplements and herbal remedies sold under food law are prohibited from providing even the mast basic advice to consumers about the products benefits has always seemed ridiculous, and a disservice to the public. To a large part, when choosing health products, consumers have to rely on (often inaccurate) information in the print media, often written by journalists who have not sufficiently researched the subject.

    We were initially hopeful that the proposed regulations, due to be adopted in July 2006, would end this anomaly but they seem to create more obstacles than they remove. The 2nd Common Position has just been published and will be discussed in the European Parliament shortly. Unfortunately, the proposals carry with them much of the same difficulties that we have all experienced with FSD. A major concern is that the proposed regulations are not confined to the actual packaging of the product. They include the package, brand name, advertising, in-product leaflet, and marketing arrangements - would all require prior approval – a huge burden on the manufacturers in terms of time and costs.

    Some of the most popular and recognisable Brand names that imply a claim could be banned – even if the packaging made no claims. All health professional and some health charity endorsements would be banned with the likelihood that valuable revenue streams to charities will dry up and consumers will be denied the means to make healthier food choices.

More About Consumers for Health Choice

Consumers for Health Choice (CHC)

is an extraordinarily successful lobbying and campaigning group on natural health matters, capable of punching way above their weight on whatever issues they tackle. CHC is made up of dedicated individuals who actively promote the rights of consumers to have ready access to a wide range of natural health care products, including vitamins & minerals, herbal remedies and other beneficial and safe supplements. Much of their work is in challenging adverse EU legislation and pushing the appropriate regulators to use consistency, common sense and good judgement to favour consumers when framing laws that affect our health.


CHC respects the freedom of individual choice in health matters and strives to secure not just the availability of a wide range of safe products but honest and clear labelling so that consumers can make informed decisions about their health.

CHC has developed excellent relationships with many MPs and Peers, and as a result, their issues are constantly raised in both Houses through Early Day Motions, Written Questions and Oral Questions. On three occasions, these concerns have led to major debates in both Houses.

The reputation that CHC has with government and parliament is enviable. There is no other organisation campaigning for health freedom in the UK which has the depth and breadth of relationships with parliamentarians which CHC enjoys.

CHC is well known to all media and has worked with researchers, health and business editors and journalists to raise awareness of the supplements issues. CHC has been fortunate to gain the active support of Jenny Seagrove and Carole Caplin, plus more than fifty other high profile celebrities who have been invaluable in acting as front line speakers on radio, TV and for media interviews, creating remarkable features and substantial column inches.

For more information on how consumers can get involved, please log onto their website at


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