The EU red tape that is drowning British businesses18th March 2011: The owner of a small herbal manufacturing company based in the North West is facing closure because of new EU legislation.
Four employees at the company, which sells just one traditional herbal product which has been sold worldwide since the late 1800's, face losing their jobs in April due to the EU directive on traditional herbal products and the registration of such products.
To register just the one product would cost in the region of £30,000 to £40,000 which the small company cannot afford, so the only alternative is to close.
The owner of the compnay has written to Nick Griffin asking for help. He told the MEP:
"We are not opposed to the E.U. Directive setting standards in an attempt to protect the public. However there is no flexibility, which would allow us to continue manufacturing as the cost is so prohibiting.
The result will be that many traditional herbal products will disappear never to be replaced even though they have been used for centuries with good effect. The consequence will be no alternative other than pharmaceutical medicine, which will need a prescription putting extra pressure on the already over stretched NHS
This legislation takes away choice – the choice of an individual to choose which kind of medication they take. Very few people if any die from a herbal overdose but how many people die from drug overdose or suffer massive side effects from drugs manufactured by large pharmaceutical companies.
I realize that this EU directive was brought in before you became MEP, however your intervention can change it and allow me and and many other small business owners to continue in business.
The majority of our herbs are sold through registered colonic hydrotherapists who under the directive will not be allowed to prescribe herbal products to their patients.
I would appreciate your comments but importantly your support in changing this EU directive so that we can continue to trade."
Responding on behalf of Nick Griffin, his Constituency Office Manager Tina Wingfield wrote:
"Thank you for your correspondence regarding the European Commission’s Traditional Herbal Medicines Directive (2004/24/EC).
Nick Griffin is committed to using his status as a Member of the European Parliament to protect British businesses and UK consumers from the bureaucratic interference of the European Commission in matters which are rightfully the responsibility of our national government. As such, he is happy to support UK traders and consumers in their campaign against the imposition of restrictive limits on food supplements and herbs that threaten the survival of UK businesses and erode the freedom of consumer choice.
Of equal and comparative concern to the Traditional Herbal Medicines Directive is the Commission’s Food Supplements Directive (2002/46/EC). Both of these Directives constitute unjustifiable and excessive EU interference in the consumer’s right of choice.
Mr Griffin wrote to the European Commissioner, in September 2009, highlighting the concern amongst food supplements traders and consumers about the proposed introduction of restrictive limits on supplement sales. He pointed to research conducted by the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association HFMA, the National Association of Health Stores and the Food Standards Agency, which indicates that if the new harmonised levels fall even modestly below current UK levels, higher potency supplements with current annual sales of at least £100 million will be imperilled.
Over 700 independent health stores could, moreover, be forced to close nationally, with a potential total loss of business of nearly £200m and the resultant loss of hundreds of jobs. Consumer safety could also be put risk because if consumers are unable to purchase the popular high strength supplements they are accustomed to (and which have been accepted as safe and appropriately labelled by the Food Standards Agency), there is a significant risk that they will try turn to alternative products and sources, many of which will be unregulated and therefore potentially dangerous.
In light of this and in the interests of protecting the UK market and maintaining consumer choice, Mr Griffin urged the Commission not to bring forward restrictive proposals that would adversely affect the continued availability of supplements in the UK.
The same arguments apply to traditional herbs and Mr Griffin is monitoring developments in relation to these two Directives. He will be pleased to offer his support to any initiatives that address the excessive restrictions they impose, and thus restore freedom of choice over food supplements and traditional herbs for UK traders and consumers."