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Food supplements are vitamins, minerals and 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 (in Dutch).
European directive for food supplements
Dutch legislation is based on the European directive regarding food supplements. The directive contains rules regarding:
- average daily quantities (ADQ)
- minimum and maximum quantities of vitamins and minerals a supplement must contain
- health-related claims on packaging and in advertisements
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).
Food supplement claims
As food supplements are not considered medicines, they may not contain ingredients deemed medicines as stated in the Medicines Act (Geneesmiddelenwet). Food supplements are not allowed to make medical claims. Health-related claims are allowed, but only if they can be substantiated. The European Union has drafted a list of scientifically substantiated claims.
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 name, type and 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