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Industry needs to engage on EU laws

The EU Retained Law Bill could be an opportunity for supplements – if handled correctly

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill has been a contentious topic of discussion since its introduction by the Government in September 2022.

Still under scrutiny by Parliament, concerns are being raised about the Bill’s undemocratic nature and the risks of it leading to a patchy regulatory framework in critical areas such as environmental standards and food safety.

While these are very valid concerns that need to be addressed, the Bill could also present an opportunity for a more fit-for-purpose regulatory framework supportive of research and innovation. This could be particularly key for the food supplements sector as it could allow companies to put new ingredients and products on the market and communicate their benefits to consumers more effectively.

For example, it could be a great opportunity to review the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation. Many in the food supplements sector feel that the Regulation is overly restrictive, making the approval of health and nutrition claims on food products unduly burdensome and difficult, and limiting companies’ ability to communicate to consumers. This in turn stifles innovation as companies are less likely to invest in research if positive results cannot be communicated.

The Retained EU Law Bill could provide an opportunity to amend this Regulation and make the approval of claims more flexible, while still ensuring product safety and efficacy.

The biggest obstacle for an effective review of EU retained law is the very tight sunset clause included in the Bill, which states that any regulations that have not been actively adopted or reviewed by the end of 2023 will be automatically repealed. This clause is one of the most controversial aspects of the Bill as it puts pressure on regulators to act quickly without fully assessing the impact of any potential changes and opening the door for unintended consequences. An extension of the clause by two or three years would allow a more thorough and effective review.

The impact of the Bill in the food supplements industry will ultimately depend on the specific regulatory changes that are introduced following its adoption and before the sunset clause is due. Companies need to urgently engage with regulators and policymakers to ensure a proper and careful review that leads to a regulatory framework supportive of innovation and growth, while also ensuring the safety and efficacy of products.

Not doing so will be a missed opportunity.

Andrea Solana
Account Director at Whitehouse Communications

The Whitehouse team are expert political consultants providing public relations and public affairs advice and political analysis to a wide range of clients in the United Kingdom and across the European Union. For more information, please contact [email protected]

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