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Useful links to food supplements

A list of major sites containing useful information on standards, dosages and warnings that regulate the food supplement industry

Guidelines on probiotics

This document provides indications for use of probiotic micro-organisms (lactic cultures) in food supplements.
It also specifies the minimum daily dose that a probiotic food supplement must guarantee to be able to claim a health benefit, such as "promotes the balance of intestinal flora"; this dose is equivalent to at least 1 billion live cells of a particular strain.

Forms of vitamins and minerals that may be added to food supplements

Maximum daily intakes of vitamins and minerals permitted in food supplements

RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)

The document contains a list of all sources of vitamins and minerals allowed in the manufacture of food supplements (this regulation amends Directive 2002/46/EC and Regulation (EC)1925/2006.
Annex I provides a list of vitamins and minerals for which RDA levels have been set at European level. It also specifies the minimum intake of these substances, which must correspond to the 15% of the RDA (for more information, please see NOTES ON VITAMINS AND MINERALS.
Annex II includes the definition of the substance that constitutes dietary fibres and the methods of analysis.

List of allowed health claims made in relation to food products

This list contains all the health claims definitively approved by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).
The currently approved claims mainly relate to vitamins and minerals and partially to other nutrients and herbs; many other claims are still being evaluated, including almost all vegetable substances and preparations (botanicals).

EFSA Database

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) website, where you can check the status of approval of the health claims related to the ingredients present in food supplements.

Other nutrients and substances with a nutritional or physiological effect

This document provides a list of nutrients with the respective maximum doses allowed in food supplements and any specific mandatory warnings.
The list, drawn up as guidelines on the initiative of the Ministry of Health, does not include all substances that can be used in food supplements but only those with a health effect recognised by the Ministry itself whilst awaiting EFSA's definitive opinion.

List of substances and plant-based preparations permitted in food supplements

This list, published in the Annex to the Ministerial Decree of July 9, 2012, provides all the herbs that can be used in the food supplements marketed on the Italian territory, since at EU level there is still no equivalent list.
Besides the admitted botanical parts, the list also contains the health claims and any specific warnings to be indicated on the packaging of the products.
All claims indicated are recognised by the Ministry of Health only provisionally, while awaiting EFSA's final approval.

List of substances and plant-based preparations permitted in food supplements

This is a list of herbs the use of which is prohibited in food supplements.

Guidelines on food supplements adjuvant to low-calorie diets

These guidelines provide clear indications for the labelling and advertising of <strong >weight-loss products<strong>.
Their goal is to promote, for this type of supplements, the assignment of a secondary role, i.e. that of simple "adjuvants" to low-calorie diets and not of a system that compensates for inadequate eating behaviours.
In particular, they state that products be not presented in a misleading way, with improper terminology such as "fat burning" or the like, which can cause the average consumer to falsely believe that it is possible to lose weight with the only intake of a food supplement.
For this reason, in the products included in this category, Dr Giorgini has clearly stated, as provided for by the law, the following sentence:
"For best weight loss results, it is always necessary to follow a proper diet combined with a healthy lifestyle and a good level of physical activity. In case the product is used within a long-term diet, lasting more than 3 weeks, you should seek your doctor's advice".

Use of food supplements in children and pregnant women

This guidance document of the Ministry of Health specifies that children and pregnant women can also take food supplements, unless otherwise stated in the warning.
However, for the use of the products under 3 years of age you should first seek medical advice.

Register of food supplements listed in alphabetical order, per product

Register of food supplements, listed in alphabetical order, per company

Once a product is notified to the Ministry of Health, it may be placed immediately on the market even if it takes the Ministry 3 to 12 months and longer to evaluate it.
Once approved, it will be included in the register of food supplements, published on the Ministry website with biannual updates. For this reason, it is normal to find for sale a food supplement that is not yet present in the register, since generally between the closing of the notification process and the addition of a new product, even more than 18 months can elapse.

Nutrition and health claims made on food products

This regulation, also known as the Claim Regulation, has laid the groundwork for standardising, on a European level, all nutrition and health claims provided on foods.
Besides laying the foundations of the evaluation process of health claims by the EFSA, still in progress, the document sets out the conditions of use of different nutritional claims, such as: product with "no calories", "no fat" , "high in protein", "high in fibres", "light" etc.

Information on foods for consumers

This regulation contains and better specifies all different European rules relating to the labelling of food products, some already in force at national level.
Among these, the most important for our consumers is definitely the one concerning the substances that may cause allergies or intolerances.
Law imposes to highlight, among the ingredients present in a certain food, all possible allergens (milk and dairy products that may contain lactose, grains or derivatives that may contain gluten etc.).
The regulation also provides specific warnings for foods that contain caffeine, phytosterols, glycyrrhizic acid etc.








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