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UK industry confident on supplement shelf-life

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The UK health food trade says it has “no doubt” that properly stored food supplements are effective until their best-by dates.

Last week the Daily Mail and Metro reported on the findings of a US researcher who says some vitamin supplements can degrade within days, even if they are still in their original containers.

Dr Lisa Mauer told the newspapers that, once open, vitamin supplements are vulnerable to rapid degradation by humidity, particularly if kept in bathrooms or kitchens. She said: “Once opened the package allows the moisture

Mauer says her research shows how vulnerable supplements such as vitamin B and C are to a process called deliquescence. “You can get complete loss of the ingredients. It depends on the conditions. It depends on the formulations.”in and destroys the product. Within a very short time – in a week – you can get complete loss of vitamin C.”

Responding to the press coverage Graham Keen, executive director the Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) said: “There is simply no evidence to suggest that vitamins in the UK are affected by the kind of degradation implied by Dr Mauer’s research.”

“Food supplement packaging in the UK clearly states that products should be stored in a cool, dry place.  In addition, quality supplements are subject to rigorous manufacturing processes, including stability testing which helps to identify and overcome any degradation issues. Food supplements are then coated to help protect the compressed ingredients, and are subject to ‘best before’ dates appropriate to their overall stability.  “If stored correctly, there is no doubt that vitamin and mineral supplements will retain their beneficial effect until their ‘best before’ date.”

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