European legislation that seeks to reduce the range of nutritional and alternative healthcare products available in the UK is to be reviewed by the European Court of Justice.
If the European court rules that the European Commission has overstepped its authority, the ban, due to be implemented by August 2005 as the Food Supplements Directive, may be overturned.
The first step was taken last Friday (30 January) at the High Court in London where Mr Justice Richards agreed with the arguments presented by the Alliance for Natural Health and by trade organizations. He said that application to the European Court should be made without delay.
The Food Supplements Directive seeks to control the sale of 5,000 vitamin and mineral products currently sold in shops in the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden and Ireland. It would impose strict controls, similar to those currently in place in France and Germany.
This test case has wide-ranging implications, and could determine the level of power that the Commission has over individual member states and their own local laws.