Selling nutritional/food supplements and beverages in a fitness club

The information provided in this article aims to provide general guidelines for those involved in setting up a business selling nutritional/food supplements and beverages. It outlines the initial steps to be followed as well as a brief description of the legislation. However, the responsibility lies with the individual food business operator to determine how the legislation applies in practice to them.

Competent Authority

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is responsible for enforcing Directive 2002/46/EC (as amended) on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to food supplements. This EU legislation has been transposed into National legislation for Ireland by Statutory Instrument (S.I.) No. 506 of 2007 (as amended). This legislation is available on the FSAI website on http://www.fsai.ie/legislation/food_legislation/food_supplement.html


Food supplements are defined in the legislation as:

‘Foodstuffs, the purpose of which is to supplement the normal diet and which are concentrated sources of nutrients or other substances with nutritional or physiological effect, alone or in combination, marketed in dose form, namely forms such as capsules, pastilles, tablets, pills and other similar forms, sachets or powder, ampoules of liquids, drop dispensing bottles, and other similar forms of liquids and powders designed to be taken in measured small unit quantities’.

Notification of Food Supplements

To facilitate the efficient monitoring of food supplements, the legislation requires the manufacturer or person placing the supplement on the market in Ireland to notify the FSAI of the fact by forwarding a sample of the label used for the product. This requirement applies when the product is manufactured in or imported into Ireland and is being placed on the Irish market for the first time by an individual (i.e. manufacturer, distributor, importer or retailer), irrespective of product country of origin.

A fitness club need only carry out the notification procedure where they source food supplements from businesses outside Ireland. If the fitness club purchases products from other businesses (retailers or distributors) in Ireland, there is no need to notify the FSAI as the obligation to do so will be with the other business importing the supplements.
The notification procedure is not an approval or authorisation procedure for marketing a food supplement in Ireland.

The notification procedure may be completed online on the FSAI website on https://supplements.fsai.ie/Login.aspx. A copy of the label for each product must also be uploaded and separate notification forms are required to be completed online for each different product (including similar products that come in different flavours).

Labelling of Food Supplements

Article 6 of Directive 2002/46/EC lists the specific requirements in terms of labelling of food supplements. Each product must be sold under the name ‘Food Supplement’ and all of the specific information required is listed in Section 7 of our Guidance Note called ‘Food Supplements and Notifications – Revision 2’, which is available on the FSAI website on http://www.fsai.ie/publications_GN21_foodsupplements/

Selling Food Supplements

The following applies to a fitness club proposing to sell food supplements and beverages.

1. Register the food business:
The legislation applies to all sectors of the food industry: manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers (including website sales, company mail order sales and network marketing).
Any food business that proposes to sell or distribute nutritional supplements and beverages must register their business with the local environmental health office. The HSE maintains a register of all the premises within their area and they will check to make sure that your business complies with the food hygiene legislation. An EHO could inspect your food business at any time. This applies even when the catering operation is occasional.

2. Know the legislation
In addition to the specific food supplement legislation referred to above, all food businesses and fitness clubs selling food supplements and beverages must also comply with the food hygiene legislation – Regulation 852/2004. A copy of this legislation can be downloaded from the FSAI website on http://www.fsai.ie/uploadedFiles/Consol_Reg852_2004.pdf

3. Ensure that the supplements are notified to the FSAI
This applies only where the fitness club brings in food supplements and beverages from outside Ireland for sale on the Irish market for the first time.

4. Check labels
Make sure that the labels are compliant and declare all of the necessary information on them where supplements are sourced from outsude Ireland.


Contact the FSAI Advice Line

Food business operators can contact the FSAI with any questions or queries that they may have in relation to starting or maintaining their food business.

LoCall 1890 33 66 77 or email info@fsai.ie

Links

Food Safety Authority of Ireland
HSE
Ashtown Food Research Centre
Enterprise Ireland

Useful FSAI Publications

Guidance Note 21 – Food Supplements Regulations and Notifications (Revision 2)
Guide to Food Safety Training Level 1 & 2 (Induction and additional skills) and Level 3 (For managers)
Guide to Food Law for Artisan and Small Food Producers Starting a New Food Business