Food supplements are regulated under the Ordinance (817.022.14) on Food Supplements (2016) in Switzerland.
They are defined as foodstuffs whose goal is to supplement a normal diet.
As a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals or other substances having a nutritional or physiological effect alone or combined, they are sold in doses like capsules, lozenges, tablets, pills or similar forms, powder, ampoules, dropper bottles or similar forms for liquid or powder preparations designed to be taken in small quantities.
As foodstuffs, food supplements must comply with the mandatory particulars of the Ordinance (817.022.16) on Foodstuffs Information.
Pursuant to Article 3, the following information must be provided:
Legal name of the foodstuff: “food supplement”;
Allergens or ingredients that may cause adverse reactions;
Use by/ Best before date;
Name and address of the manufacturer or importer;
Country of origin;
Batch number and lot identification
Compliance with food supplement labelling rules
In addition, pursuant to Article 3 of the Ordinance on Food Supplements, the following mandatory particulars must be stated:
Name of the vitamins, minerals or other ingredient used in the product;
Amount of vitamins, minerals or other substances and their percentage in comparison to the reference intake mentioned in Annex X, part A of the Ordinance on Foodstuffs Information;
When a claim is made related to vitamins and minerals, the food supplement must contain at least 15% of the recommended intake mentioned in Annex X, part 3 and other substances it shall be at least 15% of the maximum quantity set up in Annex I;
When a claim is made related to probiotics, the recommended daily dose must be at least 100 000 000 UFC and for lactase it must be at least 4500 units FCC.
Probiotics must be listed under their scientific name according to the “International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes” and accompanied by the mention “with lactic ferments”;
The following warnings are compulsory:
The daily recommended dose is expressed in portion sizes;
Do not exceed the recommended daily dose;
Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet;
Keep out of the reach of young children;
Specific warning or target groups or instructions of use listed in Annex I of the Ordinance on Food Supplements.
The labelling, presentation or advertising of food supplements shall not in any case bear a mention stating or suggesting that a varied and balanced diet cannot provide the necessary nutrients in general.
Authorized health and nutrition claims are listed in Annex XIV of the Ordinance on Foodstuffs Information.
Pursuant to Article 29, nutrition claims are claims presented in the form of message or representation including graphics or symbols, whichever the form is, which state, suggest or imply that a foodstuff possesses particular beneficial and positive nutritional properties.
Such claims shall refer to the increased or reduced energy content of the foodstuff, nutrients or other substances listed in Annex X or if these rules cannot be apply that the foodstuff has a sufficient quantity that produces a nutritional or physiological effect scientifically recognized.
Authorized nutrition claims may only be used if they comply with the limitations presented above and if they are listed in Annex XIII.
Pursuant to Article 30, comparative nutrition claims may only be made between foodstuffs from the same categories taking into consideration a range of products from a given category. Difference in the energy content and the nutrient level shall be stated.
Pursuant to Article 31, health claims are claims presented in the form of message or representation including graphics or symbols, whichever the form is, which state, suggest or imply that a foodstuff or one of its components has a relation to health.
Health claims are only authorized if they are listed in Annex XIV since they have been granted authorization from the Federal Office for food security and veterinary affairs (OSAV).
Health claims shall refer to the role played by the nutrient or substance in the growth, development and functions of the body, or its psychological and behavioral functions or in slimming or weight control, reduction of the feeling of hunger, to an increase in the feeling of fullness or to a reduction in the energy value of the diet.
Applications for new health claims
Pursuant to Article 32, a new health claim can be submitted to the OSAV in one of the official languages of the Helvetic Confederation or in English.
Application dossiers should specify the food or food ingredient for which the application is made and provide solid scientific substantiation of the claimed health benefit.
A particularly interesting provision is the granting of an individual authorization for a specific duration. However, the authorization shall cease to be valid were the claim to be entered into Annex XIV or it no request for renewal were submitted before the expiry of the authorization.