Article 3 item 4 of the Austrian Food Safety and Consumer Protection Act (LMSVG), Federal Law Gazett I No. 13/2006, as amended, defines the term “food supplement” as:
"Foodstuffs the purpose of which are to supplement the normal diet and which are concentrated sources of nutrients or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect, alone or in combination, marketed in dose form, namely forms such as capsules, pastilles, tablets, pills and other similar forms, sachets of powder, ampoules of liquids, drop dispensing bottles, and other similar forms of liquids and powders designed to be taken in measured small-unit quantities."
Main Properties of Food Supplements
Food supplements are foods. Any misleading and disease-related claims made to market supplements are prohibited.
They supplement the normal diet. Food supplements are not intended as a substitute to general nutrition. As a result, they cannot replace a balanced diet and cannot compensate nutritional deficiencies caused by unhealthy and one-sided nutrition. The labelling and packaging of food supplements and their marketing must not claim or give an impression that a varied and balanced diet is not enough to supply the body with sufficient quantities of nutrients. Statements such as “the adequate supply of minerals to the human body is basically impossible as a result of our nutrient-depleted soil” are prohibited when launching food supplements. Furthermore, supplements must not carry a recommendation for “cosmetic use” (application to the skin).
Food supplements are concentrates. Thus, highly diluted products manufactured in a similar way as homeopathic products (e.g. Schuessler Salts, Bach Flowers) are not supplements.
Food supplements have a nutritional or physiological effect. Unlike medication, supplements are not intended to heal, alleviate or prevent human diseases.
Food supplements are marketed in doses. Stating a clear recommended dose is obligatory for supplements. Furthermore, when food supplements are marketed they must carry the information that the recommended daily dose must not be exceeded.
Food supplements are designed to be ingested in small, measured doses. Goods intended for ingestion in large quantities (e.g. one litre per day) are not considered food supplements.
Food Supplement Regulation
The essential cornerstones of the Food Supplement Regulation BGBl. II Nr. 88/2004, as amended, are:
Food supplements must only be distributed to the end-consumer as packaged goods. It is not permitted to use other substances than those vitamins and minerals listed in Appendix 1 in any other forms than those listed in Appendix 2 for the manufacturing of food supplements. The statutory term “Nahrungsergänzungsmittel“ (food supplement) must be used for food supplements in accordance with the Lebensmittelinformationsverordnung (LMIV – Food Information Regulation).
Labels of food supplements must contain the following information under all circumstances, in addition to the information in accordance with the Food Labelling Regulation (LMKV):
Nutritional Category and Recommended Doses
Category names of nutrients or other substances that are typical for the product or information on the properties of the nutrients or other substances, as well as the recommended daily dose in the units typical for the product in question.
A warning not to exceed the recommended daily dose and a note that food supplements must not be used as replacements for a balanced diet. A third note should state that the product must be kept out of the reach of children.
Labels and the visual appearance of food supplements and their advertising must not contain any hints claiming or giving the impression that the adequate supply of nutrients is impossible with a balanced diet.
The amount of nutrients or other substances with nutritional or physiological effects contained in the product must be indicated on the label in numbers.
The indication of nutrient quantities or those of other substances must be shown on the label as a recommended daily dose.
Appendix 1 Units
The units provided in Appendix 1 must be used for vitamins and minerals.