EFSA: New guidance on micronutrient upper limits

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have published guidance on the upper limits of vitamins and essential minerals. The guidance can be found on EFSA’s site, with a one-year pilot phase and a further public consultation due next year.

The micronutrients in focus are: vitamin A, folic acid/folate, vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, manganese, β-carotene and vitamin B6. 

The guidance is aimed to help policymakers, but also nutritionists, food manufacturers and the general public, understand the upper limits of vitamins and essential minerals – which if consumed in excess may be harmful. 

The concept of a tolerable upper intake level (UL) is a science‐based reference value, which was introduced to support policy‐makers and other relevant actors in managing the risks of excess nutrient intake, concludes EFSA. 

Examples of application of a UL include:

  •          the setting of maximum amounts of micronutrients that can be added to foods or used in food supplements (by risk managers);
  •          the evaluation of the safety of a new nutrient source prior to its marketing authorisation (by risk assessors);
  •          the safety assessment of the intake of micronutrients by individuals or populations (by risk assessors, public health authorities or other health professionals).