Use of Botanicals in Food Supplements
Background/Aims: In the European Union, an elaborate legal framework regulates botanical products both under food and medicinal law. The decision as to which legal framework applies to an individual product may differ between the Member States. In the case of botanical food supplements, all food law provisions apply to their manufacturing, composition and marketing, including the new claims legislation. Methods: Elements from EU and national law, scientific and other publications are brought together to investigate how to clarify the differentiation between the use of botanicals for medicinal and health-promoting purposes on a scientific basis. Results: Guidance on the safety assessment and quality evaluation of botanicals is proposed in light of the different approaches described in the scientific literature with particular attention to the concept of longterm use as an integral part of safety evaluation. Guidance on claims substantiation is also included, taking into consideration the proposed legislation, the concept of long-term experience and grading of evidence. Conclusions: A model for safety and efficacy assessment of botanical food supplements in the EU is proposed, and should be taken into consideration in the development of legislation and scientific research on botanicals.