Dr Robert Verkerk and Senator Dierdre de Burca both gave cause for concern and fuel for the fight in relation to this looming EU food supplement regulation at the recent meeting in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire.
In a broad ranging presentation to a group consisting mainly of members of the public and nutritional therapists Dr Verkerk set the stage for what was on the cards in the event that the upcoming legislation is transposed through to the various member states without any major changes.
He re-inforced the threat posed to health stores throughout the EU by the directives (in particular the FSD), letting all present know that the vital access to dietary advice currently available in most good health stores will disappear as even verbal “claims” made regarding nutrients would, unless pre-approved by the EU, be disallowed under the directive. This, he proposed, “poses one of the greatest threats to freedom of speech” that the western world has ever known.
Dr Verkerk presented the case, strong as it is, for fighting the directive, highlighting the incompetency and flawed science on the part of the European Food Safety Authority (charged with devising a risk management model for upper safe levels of nutrient intake), that has provided the basis for the maximum permitted levels (MPL’s) to be applied to the intake of all nutrients, regardless of their potential toxicity to human beings. Examples of the proposed MPL’s included such folly as the upper limit to be applied Beta Carotene of 30mg daily, equal to about 1/3 of that available in a fresh carrot, or selenium where the proposed MPL could be provided for by as little as 1/5 of a brazil nut.
Directing us to the website set up by an Irish consumer (www.saveoursupplementsireland.com), Erica Murray (of the Hopsack) urged consumers to “get writing” to their MEP’s and re-affirmed the important point made by Senator de Burca that the EU is ‘all ears’ to Irish concerns as a direct result of the negative outcome of the Lisbon Treaty referendum.