MEP “mis-understood” over Supplements Directive

The British MEP who recently tabled a question to the EU Commissioner for Health, John Dalli, urging him to speed up the process for setting maximum permitted levels (MPLs) for vitamins, has met with the owners of Elixir Health Foods in Wadebridge.

Julie Girling, the MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, came in for criticism for the timing of her question — leading industry and campaign groups fearing that it could detrimentally affect delicately poised discussions on MPLs.

If the European Commission follows the wishes of countries like Germany and France and sets maximum levels for vitamins and minerals very low, almost all the high potency products sold in British health stores would be banned. Trade and campaign groups believes the longer the consultation period on MPLs, the better the chance of securing a more beneficial outcome for British businesses and consumers.

In her hour long meeting (Wednesday 27 April 2011) with Elixir Health Foods owner, Randi Henderson, Girling was challenged to voice her active support for the British health food industry. Henderson said to the MEP: “Hundreds of thousands of people would be affected if the dosage of supplements was set below commonly accepted safety levels with the possibility of many businesses closing.”

Girling offered assurances that she was working hard behind the scenes on behalf of  constituents and British businesses, explaining that sometimes it was more effective to be “tactical” rather than vocal. She said: “I know how important it is to be able to take messages back to Brussels from those directly involved in business… I am determined to do all I can to make the European Commission listen to British concerns.” Girling added that her position on the Food Supplements Directive had been “misunderstood”.

• In June 2010 Julie Girling MEP called on the European Commission to explain the measures it would be taking to avoid the 700 British health food store closures threatened under a low MPLs scenario.

Picture: Julie Girling (left) with Randi Henderson of Elixir Health Foods