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The Internal Market, Incomplete: EU, Dutch and Belgian Legislation on Maximum Food Fortification with Micronutrients

Lisa N. van der Meer, Hanna Schebesta

The article shows that food fortification legislation at the EU level leaves the achievement of the internal market incomplete. Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 on the addition of vitamins, minerals and certain other substances to foods regulates the addition of micronutrients to food. A regulatory check of two markets in the European Union (EU) shows that EU countries at national level take diverging approaches to food fortification. In the Netherlands, food fortification with vitamin A (in the form of retinoid), selenium, copper and zinc is prohibited if it concerns food fortification in the strict sense. This regime is subject to an exemption authorisation scheme. The main reason why food fortification with some substances is not allowed in the Netherlands is because the range between the Recommended Daily Average (RDA) and the maximum Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is too small. A safe level of intake would then not be much higher than the RDA. In this article, the different ranges between the RDA’s and the UL in the Netherlands, Belgium and the EU have been compared. Following the results of this report, these ranges do not seem to differ substantially and therefore, a priori do not seem to be a convincing scientific argument for divergent legislation on whether or not to prohibit food fortification with specific micronutrients. The results are discussed in light of EU regulation of on the addition of vitamins and minerals and the free movement of goods.

Hanna Schebesta is Associate Professor in the LAW group at Wageningen University (WUR, the Netherlands) and was previously a Research Associate at the European University Institute (EUI, Italy). Lisa van der Meer is a Projectmanager verpakkingen bij Cérélia Netherlands B.V.


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