Advertising food supplements - are we in for a revolution?

Poland
Available languages: PL

The topic of food supplements is returning yet again – this time the government is planning changes concerning the presentation and advertising of food supplements. On 2 September 2022, information was published about current work on a draft amendment to the Food and Nutrition Safety Act (the “Draft”).

The planned changes are intended to protect the health and lives of consumers, as well as to raise their awareness of food supplements in general. According to preliminary information on the Project, the reason for the changes is the existing practices used by business entities – which may be misleading in terms of the properties of this category of products.

The most important changes planned are:

  • the addition of mandatory elements in the advertising or presentation of a food supplement. By way of an example, the ad is to include a message stating “A food supplement is a foodstuff whose purpose is to supplement a normal diet. A food supplement has no medicinal properties”;

  • the introduction of a ban on the use of HCP images in ads. This would also include indirect references to the image of HCPs, e.g. by using props in ads such as a stethoscope or a blood pressure measuring device, as well as performing activities associated with medical professions, e.g. measuring blood pressure;

  • prohibiting advertising directed at children under the age of 12;

  • restrictions on how and where supplements may be advertised or presented. Among other things, the draft provides for a ban on advertising food supplements in pharmacies and the need to separate medicines and food supplements sold in pharmacies;

  • restrictions on the advertising and presentation of products within a so-called umbrella brand (i.e. supplements marketed under a similar or a nearly similar name or graphic design to medicinal products);

  • allowing the use of a voluntary mark confirming the quality and safety of the product in the labelling, presentation or advertising of food supplements;

  • changes clarifying the procedure for notifying the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate about placing a product on the market for the first time, including concerning the opinion of a scientific institution or the URPL (Office for Registration of Medicinal Products) on the classification of a product;

  • an increase in penalties and transferring the power to impose such penalties to the competent district or border sanitary inspector. Until now, the competent authority for imposing them was the voivodship sanitary inspector and the appeal authority was the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate.

The draft is expected to be adopted by the Council of Ministers in Q4 2022.

The full content of the bill's assumptions is available here: Projekt ustawy o zmianie ustawy o bezpieczeństwie żywności i żywienia - Kancelaria Prezesa Rady Ministrów - Portal Gov.pl (www.gov.pl).