Memorandum submitted by the Health Food
Manufacturers' Association (HFMA)
HFMA is the major Trade Association for the
specialist health product industry. It has 160 member companies
who manufacture and market a wide range of products, in particular
food supplements, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, health
foods, organic and functional foods, sports nutrition products,
natural cosmetics and aromatherapy products.
HFMA acts as the authoritative and responsible
voice for the specialist health product industry in the public
policy arena and as a focus for effective industry self-regulation
within an appropriate regulatory framework. It also concerns itself
with the setting of quality standards where no generally recognised
HFMA exists to build and maintain a successful
and credible specialist health product industry within a regulatory
environment where the consumer is free to choose from a wide range
of safe, health promoting products.
The relevance of our Memorandum to the Committee's
inquiry relates to the range of food products manufactured by
our members and their contribution to the quality of life: health
foods, organic and functional foods and, in particular, food supplements.
"Health promotion", "health maintenance",
"responsible self-care" are important concepts in the
achievement of a healthy populationa population with an
extended period of active life, with less requirement for the
treatment of ill-health and in consequence less pressure on the
NHS and on Government health budgets.
Diet plays a central role in the maintenance
of health. A well-balanced diet should provide the nutrition required
by a normal, healthy individualbut for many sectors of
the population: children, adolescents, convalescents, athletes
in training, women of child-bearing age, lactating and pregnant
women and dieters, and in particular, the elderly, in practice
it can be difficult to achieve an optimum diet.
Of the food products produced by HFMA members,
food supplements and functional foods in particular have an important
role to play in providing nutritionally balanced formulae to achieve
an optimum diet and hence to help maintain and safeguard the health
of those "at-risk" sectors of the population. Particular
areas where benefit has been proven include such diverse problems
as obesity, neural tube defect and osteoporosis. The problem of
osteoporosis, and the benefits offered by calcium supplementation,
is particularly relevant to an ageing population, and is cited
as a better-known example of just one of the many areas where
supplementation can help to slow the degenerative process of both
body and mind, thereby extending the quality of life.
HFMA submits that, as part of the EQUAL Inquiry,
the Committee should further consider the role to be played by
specialist food products in extending the active period of people's
lives and whether information, advice, and access to such products
is adequate or should be enhanced.
29 December 1999