Controversial new European laws which could outlaw thousands of vitamin and mineral supplements were upheld by European Court judgesy.
The European Court of Justice rejected British health food industry claims that the proposed Food Supplements Directive, coming into force on August 1, breaches EU rules.
The surprise decision goes against an opinion delivered by the same court's advocate-general in April, advising that the rules should be scrapped because they contravene basic EU principles of "legal protection, legal certainty and sound administration".
The judges countered that the proposed arrangements, designed to tighten controls on the growing market in products sold under the health food heading, can go ahead as planned.
Health food companies have to submit natural remedies, vitamin supplements and mineral plant extracts - many of them in long-established regular use in a £300 million-a-year market in the UK - for approval and inclusion on a list of recognised food supplements.
The judges backed the move saying: "A 'positive list' system is appropriate for securing the free movement of food supplements and ensuring the protection of human health."
Source: London Evening Standard