Herbal food supplements: ANSES launches a tool for better consumer information

June 26, 2023

Dietary supplements and medications: the difference

A dietary supplement is a product designed to complement the diet and provide a concentrated source of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids or amino acids, to deliver a nutritional or physiological benefit to the consumer. A dietary supplement should not be used as a substitute for a varied, balanced diet.

A medicine, on the other hand, is a product designed to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent a disease or condition. via a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action.

From a regulatory point of view, dietary supplements are regulated as foods, while medicines are regulated as drugs.


Many dietary supplements contain plants, some of which are of medicinal origin, but their use can involve health risks due to drug interactions and contraindications. Unfortunately, consumers are often unaware of these dangers. To remedy this situation, France's Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail (ANSES) has published an opinion and provided healthcare professionals with a tool to better inform patients about 118 medicinal plants used in food supplements.

Unlike medicines, food supplements are not required to carry a mandatory leaflet containing safety information. Only basic information, such as ingredients, is included on the label. Some plants may present risks under certain conditions of use, depending on the extracts used or the sensitivity of certain populations. What's more, consumers rarely receive specific advice on dietary supplements, exposing them to inappropriate use of products for their health..

An innovative tool to support healthcare professionals in Europe

ANSES has revised and adapted the rules governing herbal medicinal products to apply to food supplements containing the same plants. To facilitate access to this information, ANSES has developed an online table summarizing information on the 118 plants mentioned. 

Primarily designed for doctors, pharmacists and nutritionists, this tool is intended to provide better support for consumers of food supplements. This extract is taken from Annex 4 of the opinion on "Assessment of the applicability of warnings and recommendations contained in EMA herbal monographs to food supplements containing the same herbs". More detailed information can be found in this annex.

To consult the excel sheet, please visit the ANSES website.

Who is EcoMundo?

We offer a range of services related to the regulatory compliance of dietary supplements verification of formulas, labeling and claims, as well as notification and declaration of your products.

We help manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements to ensure that their products meet regulatory requirements and are safe for consumption. We also provide advice on ingredient use, claims and labeling requirements in different countries around the world. In short, our expertise lies in helping companies navigate the complex regulatory landscape of dietary supplements and ensuring that their products comply with applicable regulations.

For more information, please contact Jeanne!

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