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  • Food supplements --- Maximum levels for vitamins and minerals --- differences in Europe?

    Why are the maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements different across Europe? Food supplements from the pharmacy, drugstore or online store contain vitamins and minerals in different dosages. For a safe and sensible dosage, science is based on various parameters. The so-called "Tolerable Upper Intake Level" (UL) is decisive. This is the scientifically recognized upper limit for a safe total intake that can be taken daily and for a lifetime without negative effects being expected. Maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements were developed on the basis of these parameters. The maximum amounts are well below the UL and also take into account the intake of vitamins and minerals through food. The recommended maximum levels for food supplements in Germany are drawn up by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and can be found here: Updated maximum quantity proposals for vitamins and minerals in food supplements and fortified foods (bund.de) Directive 2002/46/EC provides for a uniform and Europe-wide definition of maximum amounts. However, it has not yet been possible to reach a consensus on this in Europe, which has led to different maximum levels being proposed for food supplements across Europe: for example, the national maximum levels for vitamin C in Italy are 1000 mg, whereas in Germany they are only 250 mg per day. The consumer advice center in NRW has summarized the different maximum amounts in Europe in a table. Hoechstmengen_Europa_April 2021.pdf (verbraucherzentrale.nrw) For years, various associations and the industry have been striving for uniform maximum quantities across Europe. At the beginning of 2020, discussions on this were resumed at European level. The first EFSA safety assessments for vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin D and iron, among others, are available. The final assessment for manganese has been announced for summer 2024. Proposals for maximum levels will then be forwarded to the EU member states - common maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements are therefore unlikely before the end of 2024 / beginning of 2025.

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