The Netherlands has been told to liberalise its food control legislation by allowing the import from other European Union (EU) member countries of foodstuffs with additional vitamins or mineral salts without producers having to prove there is a “nutritional need” for such products and they do not risk public health.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that in this way the Netherlands is breaking its EU treaty commitments on free trade.

The offending 1996 Dutch decree covers foods fortified with vitamin A (in the form of retinoids), vitamin D, folic acid, selenium, copper or zinc that are legally sold in other EU countries.