Legislation — “an enormous solution for a problem that doesn’t exist”

The Conservative MP and environmental journalist Zac Goldsmith last night (October 17) described the EU legislation enveloping the natural products industry as “a classic case of an enormous solution being brought in for a problem that doesn’t exist”.

Speaking at the annual Consumers for Health Choice (CHC) Parliamentary Reception Goldsmith admitted that when, as editor of The Ecologist, he had first been sent letters about the issue he had “binned them”, convinced they were part of a “whacky conspiracy theory”. But after being urged by readers to look closely at the detail he realised the campaign was “completely legitimate”, soon signing up as a CHC patron.

Yesterday, Goldsmith said: “Let’s be clear. This is bad legislation, that will destroy jobs, that will destroy shops and that will destroy choice for millions and millions of people. And it’s completely unnecessary because we already have laws in place to offer proper protection.”

Earlier in the evening the health minister Anne Milton said she was “proud of the UK’s liberal market for health food products”, adding that she had learnt of “the enormous benefits people gain from taking supplements” during her training as a nurse.

Commenting on continuing concerns about the practicalities of THMPD implementation, the minister noted that she was “aware of the gap that sometimes exists between what we are told by officials and the reality on the ground”. And making a personal pledge on the issue of consumer choice, she said: “Sometimes people make choices that make others uncomfortable, but personally I will always do what I can do to protect consumer choice.”

Milton added: “I’m a big fan of Consumers for Health Choice. It really has an impact — so, keep badgering your MPs and letting them know that these issues matter!”

The Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb also urged supporters to keep the momentum of the campaign going: “I can’t overerestimate the importance of demonstrating a united front here. As a liberal I hate the idea of regulation to prevent people from doing things, to stop them from purchasing things, where there is no need — as is clearly the case here.”