Health claims made on multivitamin and mineral supplements
AbstractIntroduction: Basic purpose of health claims is consumers' benefit by providing information about healthy eating habits. It is necessary for health claims to be scientifically substantiated and truthful. Health claims should not attribute to food the property of preventing, treating or curing a human disease. Use of health claims should be followed by a statement indicating the importance of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. The objective of this research was to examine the compliance of health claims made on multivitamin and mineral dietary supplements' labels on the Serbian market with national regulation concerning health safety of dietary products.
Methods: An assessment of labels of MVMs was done in two privately owned pharmacies in Novi Sad, Serbia in August 2010.
Results: In total, 48 MVMs were sampled and 22 health claims were detected. Seven out of 22 health claims were in compliance with the national regulation. The main reason for health claims on foreign MVMs not to be compliant with the regulation in Serbia was inadequate or nonexistent translation of original labels.
Conclusion: Detected use of terms such as "prevention", "treatment" and "indications" on vitamin and mineral dietary supplements' labels is both forbidden and misleading to consumers. Coupled with inadequate or nonexistent translation of the labels, it leads to a low level of protection of Serbian consumers. It is necessary to establish an effective monitoring system for dietary supplements' labeling on a national scale in order to
protect consumers and their wellbeing.
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