ISSUES WITH CURRENT LEGISLATION
The Dietary Supplement Regulations and related framework have been effective in managing the risks of health supplements, however, suppliers are currently not allowed to advertise any real benefit for a health supplement. Suppliers are limited to advertising that their product can only support or maintain normal function of the body, which means they can’t say that a product can improve health. In the example of echinacea (see image), suppliers can only tell you that echinacea can 'support normal immune function', which understates the proven benefits of echinacea.
The result of these restrictions is that the descriptions of what products can do is vague and consumers have unclear information in making decisions about their health.
The low standard of permitted health claims puts high-quality products with proven effectiveness on the same standing as low-quality products, which incentivises 'snake-oil salesmen'.
The lack of assurance testing means that products may not be true-to-label, bringing low confidence in the industry.