Dear Commissioner Byrne,

we have received a press communication of a British association (Consumers for Health Choice) which reveals that some of the substances approved by the EU directive for food supplements are highly caustic and could cause serious damage if ingested by humans. The substances in question are sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide and calcium oxide.

You may be aware that our association is less than satisfied with the fact that numerous substances that are currently in use in food supplements - some say more than three hundred - have been "left off the lists" of the annexes to the directive. We now discover that some of the substances that are on the list are known to be highly toxic.

This makes it appear as if the lists had been specifically prepared to favour pharmaceutical producers and large food multinationals who are using the more "simple" forms of minerals in their medicinal and infant formula products, and to squeeze out of the market all those companies that are currently manufacturing food supplements with more advanced mineral formulations.

You can find the list of more advanced mineral formulations that are not in the annexes to the food supplement directive on our web site:

Many of these substances are in extremely widespread use in currently available food supplements, while no one would even think to employ the three implicated caustic substances as ingredients in such products. Yet, those three and several other similar substances have been approved, while the commonly used ingredients are excluded and may be added to the appendix only after the production and examination of extremely costly scientific dossiers.

Before going public with these findings in Italy, we would like to ask the EU Commission's comment.

Our questions are specifically:

What is the justification for including clearly damaging substances in the "approved" list of nutrient sources attached to the food supplements directive, while keeping off the list hundreds of substances that have - by actual use - been shown to be safe and which are actually in available to consumers in supplements?
Does the Commission have a plan to review the lists attached to the food supplements directive so that they may more closely respect the reality of the current market?

Kind regards

Josef Hasslberger
La Leva di Archimede
Association for Freedom of Choice