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Food supplements are concentrated micronutrients (e.g. vitamins and minerals) or other substances that have a nutritional or physiological effect and that aim to supplement our regular diet. They come in a variety of forms, including traditional tablets, capsules, powders, liquid drops or drinks. If you sell these supplements in the Netherlands, you must comply with Dutch legislation, which is based on the European directive regarding food supplements. This directive contains rules regarding:
- average daily quantities (ADQ)
- the minimum and maximum quantities of vitamins and minerals a supplement must contain
- health-related claims
If the food supplement also contains herbs, you must also comply with the regulations laid down in the Herbal Preparations (Commodities Act) Decree (Warenwetbesluit Kruidenpreparaten).
As food supplements are not considered medicines, they may not contain ingredients deemed medicines pursuant to the Medicines Act (Geneesmiddelenwet). Food supplements may not make any medical claims. Health-related claims are allowed, as long as these can be substantiated. As of 14 December 2012 there are 222 scientifically substantiated claims (PDF) to choose from.
Food supplements are subject to the standard requirements for food labelling. Additional requirements also apply. Food supplements labels must also state:
- the recommended dosage
- the designation 'food supplement'
- the quantity of active ingredients
- a warning to keep the food supplement out of the reach of children
- a warning that the supplement must not be used as a substitute for a varied diet
- a warning that the supplement is not suitable for preventing, treating and curing disease