NOTE: Some of the information below may be inaccurate as of 01/01/2021 (post Brexit) – and is in review.
Vitamin Labelling Regulations exist to protect consumers from false or unscrupulous marketing. In this day with so many false products being flouted to all and sunder, regulations are more important than ever to protect consumers. The internet is awash with claims about hidden or ancient solutions to all kinds of medical problems. So vitamin labelling regulations form an important part of protecting consumers from being duped and mislead about vitamins and food supplements.
Regulations are set by the EU and then enacted at a national level by EU member states. These rules are then overseen by the national competent authority, a body or agency of the government tasked with oversight of the regulation in question. In the case of vitamin labels, this will be enforced locally by the Trading Standards Department of your County Council.
Strictly speaking, a vitamin label is a label attached to a food supplement. Food supplements include:
Some herbal products are classed as food supplements but can also be viewed as medicines.
There are a number of steps you must take before you can sell food supplements before you need to worry about Vitamin Labelling Regulations:
Once these matters are in hand, then you can concern yourself with ensuring your vitamin labels are inline with supplement labelling regulations.
You cannot make health claims about any food supplement or mineral other than very specific approved statements for the supplement or nutrients in the supplement. Those claims cannot be made without merit either. The claims you can make are based on your product meeting the qualifying standards for the claim you are trying to make.
These regulations came about as a result of some fanciful claims being made to encourage sales. The claims prompting the change in the rules we too extraneous to be true to the extent that the EU took action to reduce deception and protect consumers. The claims are set out in a list that is freely available, although it is quite a minefield.
For example, Manganese can have ONLY the following claims associated with it:
These claims must be made verbatim and only when Manganese is found in the food supplement as any of the following compounds:
To add to these criteria, Manganese must be concentrated to the extent that at least 15% of the NRV is supplied per 100kcal or 100g of the supplement (which would normally be the case in a Manganese food supplement!)
If your nutrient falls outside of these criteria then you cannot make any claim about it in your product or any perceived benefits about the nutrient.
That was an example for Manganese, but there is a very specific list of vitamins and minerals and their prescribed Nurtient Reference Values (NRVs):
Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)%
|Vitamin A||800 µg||Calcium||800 mg|
|Vitamin D||5 µg||Magnesium||375 mg|
|Vitamin E||12 mg||Iron||14 mg|
|Vitamin K||75 µg||Copper||1 µg|
|Vitamin B1||1.1 mg||Iodine||150 µg|
|Vitamin B2||1.4 mg||Zinc||10 mg|
|Niacin||16 mg||Manganese||2 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||6 mg||Sodium||2400 mg|
|Vitamin B6||1.4 mg||Potassium||2000 mg|
|Folic acid||200 µg||Selenium||55 µg|
|Vitamin B12||2.5 µg||Chromium||40 µg|
|Biotin||50 µg||Molybdenum||50 µg|
|Vitamin C||80 mg||Fluoride||3.5 mg|