Regulatory Resources

Food Supplements


PAGB members can access detailed regulatory intelligence on OTC medicines  self care medical devices and food supplements (below) when logged in to this website (registration for PAGB members and associate members only).  This information is automatically emailed on a weekly basis to PAGB members who subscribe to our Regulatory Intelligence newsletter. Contact for more information about subscribing to this newsletter.

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PAGB’s Food Supplements Guideline

PAGB’s Guideline on the Marketing and Advertising of Food Supplements (updated 2021) provides detailed guidance on what you need to consider when planning and developing your marketing campaigns.  In the guideline, we explain and interpret the legislation relevant to food supplements advertising and provide examples of what you can and can’t do when advertising food supplements products to consumers.

The guideline, which is exclusively available to PAGB members, also includes an introduction to the regulatory framework for food supplements including the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation and the Great Britain nutrition and health claims (NHC) register; explains PAGB’s review process for consumer advertising; and includes detailed checklists to assist members in preparing promotional materials which comply with statutory regulatory and self-regulatory requirements.

Further guidance on food supplements advertising is available here. (PAGB members only). Not a member of PAGB? Find out more about membership here

PAGB provides regulatory advice on food supplements to its members, contact to talk to us.

About food supplements regulation

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Following the UK’s departure from the EU on 31 January 2020, EU Regulations and tertiary legislation relating to food and nutrition have been retained as UK law under the powers contained within the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Retained legislation from the EU, such as retained General Food Law Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 178/2002) as amended by the General Food Law (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, remains the basis of UK food law.

The protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland (NIP) means that EU legislation relating to food and nutrition (as specified in Annex II) will continue to be directly applicable in Northern Ireland. Food placed on the Northern Ireland market needs to comply with EU food law. Retained EU law (as amended) only applies to Great Britain (that is, England, Scotland and Wales).

The primary legislation relating to food supplements is the EC Food Supplements Directive (Directive 2002/46/EC), implemented in the UK by the Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003; separate similar legislation is in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which is appropriate for these administrations. All foods, including food supplements, are also subject to the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation, which regulates labelling requirements and applies to products sold within the EU, including Northern Ireland. The Food (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) 2019 and the Food (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) 2020 regulate labelling requirements for all foods, including food supplements, sold within Great Britain.

The Food Supplements Directive lists the vitamins and minerals which are permitted for use in food supplements, in the EU, including Northern Ireland. The list has been amended several times and the safety of the substances on the list has been assessed and approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The lists have been consolidated into Regulation 1170/2011 which has annexes for the vitamins and minerals which are permitted for use in food supplements and fortified foods. Other substances such as essential fatty acids, amino acids or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect are also permitted for use in food supplements. The vitamins and minerals and their chemical forms which are permitted for use in food supplements in Great Britain have been listed in Schedule I and II of the Nutrition (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) 2019.

The Food Supplements Directive includes the intention to establish maximum and minimum levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements. The European Commission has  recently begun this work but currently the UK industry works to the safe upper levels established by the 2003 report by the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals and the EU Nutrient Reference Values (NRV) of vitamins and minerals which are set under the Food Information for Consumers Regulation.

PAGB is part of a coalition of trade associations, including the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance and the Council for Responsible Nutrition UK, which works to reduce non-compliance in our industry. All of these associations work actively with their members, regulatory authorities, policy-makers and the media to defend the reputation of the food supplements and functional food sectors across the UK and Europe.



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