Shadow health minister Mike Penning last week joined actress and Consumers for Health Choice supporter Jenny Seagrove, and CHC director Sue Croft, to urge Gordon Brown to block Europe’s threatened ban on thousands of higher potency vitamin and mineral food supplements.
As they launched the Time Is Running Out campaign, CHC unveiled thousands of posters in high streets up and down Britain, and one million postcards to lobby MPs.
Backing the campaign, Penning pledged to make the battle to ‘Save Our Supplements’ an election issue, and insisted “Consumers must be allowed to have free access to safe supplements of their choice.”
He added: “I am a firm opponent of the proposed EU Food Supplements Directive and will stand up for retailers and do my best to protect the expected store closures and the thousands of jobs that could be lost by denying the public their right to choose.”
The EU is poised to impose maximum limits for vitamin and mineral supplements at very low, RDA or near-RDA limits. This, says CHC, would mean that everything other than products with “meaningless doses” would have to cleared from health store, chemist and supermarket shelves by December 31.
CHC says the ban from Europe is creating growing anger among consumers. It says a commitment to keep supplements available and to fight the Brussels bureaucrats was made in 2005 under the Blair Government, but that almost five years later the Government has failed to implement its own policy.
Croft said: “We do feel very let down. The Food Standards Agency was instructed to fight our corner in Brussels; they accept that our supplements are safe — yet they have failed to speak up for British people. As things stand, doses of all vitamins and all minerals could be reduced to meaningless amounts to appease countries such as France and Germany who wish to control the market. Such an outcome would be catastrophic.
“The official view of EU regulators remains that the destruction of the British industry is an acceptable price to pay for harmonizing the market across all Member Stares. That is outrageous yet our Government is allowing it to happen. Gordon’s Government should wake up, keep its promises and block this burdensome and meddlesome legislation. We will make this a General Election issue; perhaps that will help concentrate their minds.”