The Regulation on the Importation, Production, Processing and Supply of Food Supplements (the “Regulation”) was published by the Ministry of Food and Forestry (the “MoA”) on 2 May 2013 in the Official Gazette, and came into force as of 2 August 2013.
The said Regulation is not only the first regulation that has been drafted, particularly on food supplements, but also includes unique provisions with regard to the control and approval mechanism to be established over food supplements.
The requirements for manufacturing or importing food supplements are set out in the Regulation. An application must be made to the provincial directorate with specific information and documentation regarding the product’s content and manufacturing, as well as its commercial name and qualities. Although the Regulation was expected to cover the advertising of food supplements, it does not truly satisfy this need and the issue is, therefore, governed by general rules. However, when a food operator submits its application to obtain approval for a food supplement, the application will only be processed if the applicant provides an undertaking that it has put into place the necessary measures to eliminate any on-going advertising/promotion on third-party domain names/URLs, or those under its control.
Under the new Regulation on Health Claims published in Official Gazette No. 28670 on 7 June 2013, health claims in advertisements for food supplements must comply with the rules set out in the Turkish Food Codex on Labelling. If an advertisement does not comply with these rules, the MoH may order the cessation of sales, as well as the collection or destruction of the products in question.
Because of an increase in the number of deaths amongst persons using certain types of food supplements (especially those used for weight loss or for weight control purposes), the MoH, the Turkish Radio, and Television Supreme Council (“RTUK”), as well as the Advertisement Board, have decided to collaborate with the MoA in the fight against the use of misleading information and health claims in advertisements for food supplements. The collaboration appears to be effective, as the Advertisement Board and the RTUK have imposed heavy sanctions against advertisers and media channels regarding misleading food supplement advertisements.