How are food supplements regulated?

All food in the UK is subject to a large body of law which is intended to ensure consumer safety and good standards across all types of foods.

The laws cover a huge number of different subject areas including:

  • General food law setting standards
  • Law which sets out the types and amounts of additives which may be used
  • Law which sets out acceptable levels of contaminants (for example mercury, lead and cadmium)
  • Law which regulates labelling and the information which must be provided to the consumer at point of purchase
  • Law which governs the kind of messages that can be used in the advertising of foodstuffs.

There is also specific legislation which regulates food supplements, setting out the vitamins and minerals which are permitted for use within these products; the labelling requirements for them and prohibiting any claim or implication that food supplements can treat, prevent or cure any disease.

The laws are managed by several different government departments; the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Find out more about the regulation of food supplements, here: