The Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU“) has issued a ruling on the interpretation of Directive 2002/46/EC on food supplements, finding that a French law prohibiting the sale of food supplements from other EU Member States containing vitamins and minerals above French national limits is contrary to EU law.

The CJEU held that while individual Member States can set their own maximum vitamin and mineral levels for food supplements, the absence of a procedure for evaluating and authorizing food supplements lawfully marketed in other Member States that exceed those national limits means that the French law contravenes the EU principles of free movement of goods and mutual recognition.

The CJEU also confirmed that where an individual Member States sets its own national maximum vitamin and mineral levels for food supplements, those levels must be set on a case-by-case basis following a comprehensive risk assessment based on generally accepted scientific data, including international and not only national data.

The ruling is significant for food supplement companies in confirming that even where national limits are allowed to be set, these must be based on robust scientific evidence and cannot be used to automatically prevent products sold legally elsewhere in the EU from being sold in that national market. In the longer term, the ruling also highlights the need for harmonised EU maximum vitamin and mineral levels to be developed.

Read the full judgment here.

This blog post originally appeared on HL Focus on Regulation.

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Photo of Richard Welfare Richard Welfare

Partner, London

Richard Welfare focuses on regulatory compliance work within the Commercial Law practice area.  Richard works with manufacturing companies to ensure that they comply with legislation and regulatory frameworks, including requirements governing product composition, labeling, packaging and claims, rules relating to advertising…

Partner, London

Richard Welfare focuses on regulatory compliance work within the Commercial Law practice area.  Richard works with manufacturing companies to ensure that they comply with legislation and regulatory frameworks, including requirements governing product composition, labeling, packaging and claims, rules relating to advertising and marketing campaigns and other key considerations when launching a product in the EU/UK. Richard has helped clients resolve issues with UK enforcement authorities, including Trading Standards, the ASA (Advertising), MHRA (Medical Devices) and the FSA (Food).

Richard has worked with in-house counsel and corporate affairs teams to design and implement public affairs programs and targeted communication strategies, and has worked with companies to design safety programs, following safety or product quality crises.

Richard advises clients on the contracting arrangements, providing commercial support to in-house teams. He works on a variety of contracts including those for supply, co-manufacturing, distribution, logistics, warehousing, agency and general trading terms. Richard also represents companies in the appointment of celebrities for advertising or endorsement campaigns and major sponsorship opportunities.