Specialists advise to be careful when considering advertising claims for food supplements to avoid misleading

Under the ongoing quarantine conditions, violations of advertising food supplements online have been recorded by the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS). In the past time, advertising of food supplements, different herbal teas or other products with the declaration of an impact of their ingredients on the human immune system, ability to cure infections caused by COVID-19 or its prevention has been observed.

Specialists of the SFVS emphasise that food supplements are classified as food products, they cannot cure diseases or safeguard against them. Therefore, their labelling, presentation or advertising must not contain any mentioning of healing or preventive qualities of the product, they must not contain any hints that the food supplement has such qualities.

To safeguard consumers, eight investigations into this kind of violations are being conducted at the moment by the SFVS, including two cases for which proceedings for the violation of the Law on Advertising have been initiated.

Consumers are reminded to be particularly careful in assessing information and claims provided in advertising, such as, for example, in case of a product, which is distributed through social networking and which is called “Nutritional energiser with preventive and healing qualities, intended to be used against cough, pneumonia, flue, bronchitis, cold”. Another example refers to the following functions, which are assigned to a protein: “Protein characterised by multifunctional effects and safeguarding the entire body against aging”. Our recommendation is also that the claims, which have no concrete meaning, such as “balanced for better quality of life”, have to be carefully considered as well. As a result of assessment of food supplements and their ingredients, investigations have been also initiated concerning the following claims: “Can help extract hazardous substances, which are present in intestines, and, along with them, leave the body in a natural way”; “Improves natural antioxidant response of the body, and, in this way, safeguards the body against aging and damage done by the environment”; “The herbal tea has been recommended by a pharmacist for families and individuals for the prevention of the Coronavirus, in case of flue effects, runny nose or cold”, etc.

Only notified food supplements with the labelling in compliance with all requirements of legislation can be placed on the market in Lithuania. As many as 371 food supplements have been newly notified this year, while the total number of notified food supplements available on the list is almost 15500.

The list of notified food supplements authorised for marketing in Lithuania is available on the web site of the SFVS at www.vet.lt/maisto-papildai. If food supplements you would like to acquire are not included in the above list consumers are not recommended to buy such food supplements as their composition has not been evaluated by specialists.