Nutrition supplements e-commerce is at the edge of the law

The online selling of food nutritional supplements and most of all of dietetic foodstuffs is a field with growth prospects which is increasing constantly. The Nutrition Business Journal forecasts the sales profit for 2017 in USA reach more than 3 billion dollars.
The online selling of food nutritional supplements and most of all of dietetic foodstuffs is a field with growth prospects which is increasing constantly. The Nutrition Business Journal forecasts the sales profit for 2017 in USA reach more than 3 billion dollars.

“Offering and selling by drawing up distance contracts of medicinal preparations, which require a doctor’s prescription.”

Legal problems
The food nutritional supplements (FNS) still don’t have clear and unambiguous legislation and sometimes there could be found even a contradiction between some regulations. There is yet to begin the discussion about regulation of FSN selling.

The FNS e-commerce is at the edge of the law and the online trader could be sanctioned by different authorities:

  • by the Consumer Protection Commission – if he didn’t respect the requirements of the Customer Protection Law or of the E-commerce Law (ECL);
  • by the Food Safety Agency – because of the quality of the offered supplements, or for the lack of compulsory elements on their labels, vitamins tabulation, illicit publicity and more other requirements regarding the FNS;
  • by The Regional Health Inspection– for the lack of a license.

According to the acting legislation, it’s impossible one to register the online shop as drugstore because the acting regulations determine drugstore as an object which must correspond to specific conditions –registered office, separated premises and staff with medical education.

Practical problems
Since the requirements about FNS are so many and various whether about the place where they can be sold, or about the nutrition themselves (i.e. their composition, components and the proportion between the allowed components, allowed and not allowed plants as raw material, requirements regarding the plastic used for packing etc.), the most simple way for e-commerce with FNS and other related goods and medical devices is the trader to be only an intermediary between licensed drugstores and consumers.
In this way he gets out of responsibility for the quality of the sold merchandise, of the duty to register every new product, which appears on the market, of the duties to maintain licensed warehouse for commerce. Drugstores are licensed objects and can sell not only FNS but also medical devices and cosmetic products.

With the growing entrepreneurial activity in this sector of e-commerce, it’s logic to expect the legislation progress in this way with the introduction of adequate regulations corresponding to the market needs.

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