Protect High Dose Supplements

NAS, which is a United States non-governmental organization that advises the federal government on a range of issues, recently met with groups from the World Health Organization and the United Nations, both of which are sponsors of Codex,  a long time threat to US supplements, to discuss possible supplement restrictions under the guise of facilitating trade.

Severe restrictions on vitamin doses in supplements are already well under way in the European Union, and it doesn’t look good. At one point, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) discussed setting the maximum level for beta carotene in a supplement to the amount provided by half a carrot, and the maximum level of selenium to what is found in one-third of a brazil nut.

Codex standards regarding supplements are widely expected to follow EFSA and the EU’s lead, since the EU has considerable influence in Codex. A few years ago, there was great concern that the US, a member of Codex, would adopt these restrictive standards behind closed doors without public involvement. If the FDA follows the law, however, this shouldn’t be the case. Adopting international standards should be a public process, either through a comment-rulemaking procedure or through the creation of legislation in Congress. Either way, the public should have an opportunity to weigh in.

The larger question of whether the FDA can ban high-dose supplements without public involvement, though, is less black and white. Our concern is that the question is no longer whether the US might try to adopt Codex standards, but whether it will follow the EU’s lead and create standards, including upper limits, on its own.  

We cannot wait for these discussions to take a more concrete form to take action. We need to stop the NAS in their tracks now.


  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative
  • Food and Drug Administration


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Please protect high dose supplements

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