Vitamins & minerals in sports drinks: What companies need to know while navigating the latest EU legislative developments

Vitamins and minerals included in foods and food supplements offer an important boost: but – unknown to many consumers – can be harmful if taken in high amounts.

Consequently, the EU sets maximum levels for vitamins or minerals that may be added to food supplements and fortified foods – ranging from breakfast cereals to margarine. And yet sports drinks cater for a specific audience of physically active consumers, with different needs to an average consumer.

The European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) explains everything sports drinks businesses need to know about the latest developments.

Regulatory state of play and challenges

The EU legal framework of MPLs for vitamins and minerals is provided by Article 5 of Directive 2002/46/EC (Food Supplements Directive), which stipulates that maximum amounts of vitamins and minerals present in food supplement per daily portion of consumption shall be set.

โ€œThe Article also describes the factors that need to be taken into account when doing so, including, among others, that upper safe levels of vitamins and minerals need to be established by scientific risk assessment based on generally accepted scientific data, taking into account, as appropriate, the varying degrees of sensitivity of different consumer groups,โ€ explains Luca Bucchini, chair of ESSNA.

โ€œAfter many years of discussions, an agreement on MPLs of vitamins and minerals could not be found, so due to the lack of consensus, a number of Member States went ahead to set their own MPLs, creating differences in levels across the EU and challenges for businesses selling in different markets.ย 

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