Consumers are increasingly informed and conscious about their dietary choices, and companies in the industry have been quick to respond by progressively incorporating food supplements into their portfolio. In such a context, food supplement regulation has become a crucial element to know and apply both for food supplements manufacturers in Europe and companies incorporating these ingredients. What are the main regulations focusing on food supplements in Europe and how can companies make sure they apply them? Keep reading to find out.
What is the food supplement regulation in Europe?
- Rule (CE) nº 178/2002. Part of the general European food legislation, it was proposed in order to guarantee member states share common laws regarding food, including rules regarding definitions, labeling, and packaging. Regarding food supplements in Europe, this rule’s main conclusion is that food supplements are considered food products and, as such, the general European legislation must be applied to them.
- Rule (CE) No 1925/2006. Originated at the European Parliament and Council, it specifically regulates the addition of vitamins, minerals and other particular substances to food products. Again birthed with the intention of providing a common framework for European countries, this rule regulates food supplement requirements, restrictions, purity criteria and labeling requirements, among other things.
EFSA: food supplements regulation
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is a European agency funded by the European Union which operates independently of the European legislative and executive institutions and EU Member States.
Born in 2002 after a series of food crises, the goal of this organization is to activate scientific knowledge around food products and food chains. Additionally, its work is typically activated in response to requests by EU Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament, while the organization also performs “self-tasking” in its own initiative.
The EFSA is also attentive to food supplements and provides specific advice and knowledge regarding them. In such a context, food supplements related to honey and ingredients produced by bees are specially considered, because of these insects’ role in maintaining biodiversity.
As such, the EFTA delineates best practices for the production of honey, bee pollen, beewax for food processing, propolis in food technology, and royal jelly as a dietary supplement and ingredient in food.
We carried out a market study for each ingredient to find out in which formats they are used, acceptance in the different European countries and claims used. We add one of them here so that you can download it:
Request the same study for propolis by clicking here.
Which ingredients are authorized for use in food supplements?
When it comes to food supplements in Europe, companies should be looking at Directive 2002/46/EC in order to learn which ingredients are authorized for food supplements. In fact, the text establishes two lists in its annexes regarding:
- Vitamins and minerals which may be used in the manufacture of food supplements. Vitamins include: Vitamin A (μg RE), Vitamin D (μg), Vitamin E (mg α-TE), Vitamin K (μg), Vitamin B1 (mg), Vitamin B2 (mg), Niacin (mg NE). And also Pantothenic acid (mg), Vitamin B6 (mg), Folic acid (μg), Vitamin B12 (μg), Biotin (μg), Vitamin C (mg). Minerals include: Calcium (mg), Magnesium (mg), Iron (mg), Copper (μg), Iodine (μg), Zinc (mg), Manganese (mg), Sodium (mg), Potassium (mg), Selenium (μg). As well as Chromium (μg), Molybdenum (μg), Fluoride (mg), Chloride (mg), Phosphorus (mg)
- Vitamin and mineral substances which may be used in the manufacture of food supplements. These include those related to vitamins and minerals.
Honey-related food supplements
Honey-related products remain one of the most used and popular among food supplement products. These include:
- Royal Jelly: a precious substance secreted by worker bees in order to feed their queen bees, it contains many of the vitamins and minerals mentioned in the food supplement regulation described above including Vitamins B1, B2, B6, E, PP (nicotinic acid) and folic acid and minerals such as iron, calcium, sodium, manganese, copper, potassium and zinc.
- How is the use of Pollen, Royal Jelly and Propolis regulated in Spain?Propolis: a resinous substance collected by honey bees from tree buds, it contains Vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), PP (nicotinic acid) and minerals such as chrome, manganese, selenium, zinc and molybdenum.
- Bee pollen: consisting of field-gathered pollen collected by bees, it contains every vitamin in the B group, a high content in beta carotene and vitamins C, D and E.
- Honey: the bees’ best-known product, it is well known from being a source of numerous organic acids (citrics, lactics…), vitamins C, B1 and B2, folic acid and minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, manganese, iron, iodine and zinc, among others.
Regarding Spanish regulation, the Real Decreto 130/2018 regulates the use of pollen, royal jelly and propolis, considering them as “substances different to vitamins and minerals” that work as food supplements. Other honey-related food supplements are still to be regulated following a common European legislation.
The Spanish norm thus permits the use of these substances in the manufacturing of food supplements.
How is the use of Honey regulated in Spain?
Honey and honey-related products are specifically regulated in Spain by Real Decreto 1049/2003. This norm defines what honey is and its multiple uses for commercial honey in the food sector, including honey for industrial uses.
It also specifies honey’s composition requirements, as well as sugar, saccharose and water contents. The norm additionally includes norms regarding honey’s labeling, among other considerations.
For those companies looking for additional information regarding honey-related supplements, at HoneyGreen+ we’ve elaborated a corporate presentation speaking about our work and our natural ingredients portfolio with health, well being and beauty benefits. . Download it here:
Want to learn more about food supplements in Europe and how to apply rules when incorporating beehive products?
At Honeygreen+ we work to become your reliable natural ingredient suppliers and product development consultants, helping companies align with new market demands by providing high-quality bee-related food supplements.
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