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Posts Tagged ‘food supplement’

Google Ads as unacceptable advertising

May 14, 2019

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the court has ruled on a case in which a medical search term led to a Google Ad for a food supplement. The court decided that this is unacceptable publicity for medicines.

The Google Ad for the food supplement appeared after typing in a medical search term.  Although the advertising agency had been explicitly instructed otherwise, the Google advertising did appear after typing in the medical search term. The court judged that this was not sufficiently supervised by the advertising agency.

The court ruled that the advertiser was in violation of the Medicines Act, by advertising on the internet for unregistered medicines. In this case, the unregistered medicine was the food supplement, positioned as a medicine by the medical search term.

With fines around 140.000€, it is of interest to know search terms are considered an integral part of a Google advertisement and excluding certain search term categories does not shield an advertiser from a possible violation. Therefore, it is advised to exclude a list of exact keywords and present this as such to KOAG/KAG for approval.

More information can be found here.


March 13, 2019


As from March 30, 2019, the United Kingdom (UK) will no longer be a member of the European Union (EU). Although to date, no agreement between the EU and the UK has been approved, the companies involved in Brexit should anticipate the consequences as much as possible.

As a result of Brexit, new import and export rules will enter into force within a certain period and under conditions that are currently still to be defined. The Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) will have to carry out import and export controls, mainly focusing on products that pose a risk in the areas of plant health, animal health and food safety. Companies that want to export to the UK or import from the UK must be aware of this and take this into account. If the EU and UK reach an agreement on Brexit, a transition period will apply until the end of 2020 in which all current European rules for the UK remain applicable.

A Belgian portal site on Brexit ( has been made available so that companies can easily access all useful information in the context of Brexit. On this National portal, the FASFC also provides a specific FASFC site for companies and a contact centre to support the companies involved as well as possible.

More information can be found here.

Food (supplements) and health claims

April 14, 2017


Recently, based on a German case, the Court of Justice of the European Union decided to restrict the EU Health Claims Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods). In this case, food supplements were promoted towards health care professionals exclusively using nutrition and health claims. This resulted in the question whether or not nutrition and health claims, made in commercial communications towards health care professionals solely, fall within the scope of the EU Health Claims Regulation. The Court decided that whereas in some EU Member States only health-related advertising towards the general public had been restricted under the previous regulations, under the EU Health Claims Regulation the same restrictions apply for advertising both inside and outside of the professional sector.

Health care professionals are considered to act as information intermediaries who issue recommendations concerning certain food supplements to consumers. Any information provided to health care professionals may affect consumers as well. Consequently, with these restrictions, a higher level of consumer protection can be guaranteed but at the other hand, promotion of food supplements towards health care professionals becomes much more restricted!

More information can be found here.