Norway takes up the fight against dubious nutritional supplements
In October, the Norwegian government passed a law against the import of medical drugs that are not approved by the Norwegian health authorities. The whole purpose with this new law is to protect Norwegian consumers against narcotics and forged medical drugs. In fact, the new law includes food supplements and this has caused an uproar among Norwegian supplement users who feel that it is an infringement of their right to buy any imported food supplement they desire.
What many people are unaware of, however, is that it is often foreign supplements that cause problems. A few years ago, an American/Canadian analysis of 44 randomly selected food supplements revealed that nearly 60 percent of the products contained ingredients that were not listed on the label. More than a third of the preparations contained substitute ingredients that were added as replacements for the declared ingredients, and over 20 percent of the products contained potentially allergenic fillers.
There are several known examples of seemingly safe food supplements that contained undeclared medicine, and there are documented deaths as a result of using these preparations. The problem is that in many if not most countries, food supplements are not regulated like it is the case with medical drugs. Products that are sold on web sites in a EU country may be manufactured in an entirely different country, which means that there is no record of the ingredients and the quality of the product. It may be a risky affair to buy medical drugs and food supplements on web sites like these, or to buy the products from manufacturers that are not known. The best advice is to stick with products that are manufactured by acknowledged suppliers that are known to manufacture documented products that are safe to use.