The Regulatory Framework Across International Jurisdictions for Risks Associated with Consumption of Botanical Food Supplements

Teng Yong Low*, Kwok Onn Wong, Adelene L.L. Yap, Laura H.J. De Haan, Ivonne M.C.M. Rietjens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Dietary supplements, including those containing botanical ingredients and botanical-derived compounds, have been marketed to consumers globally for many decades. However, the legislative framework for such products remains inconsistent across jurisdictions internationally. This study aims to compare the regulatory framework of botanical food supplements in the EU, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, and China. The study also aims to investigate and describe safety assessment criteria for botanical food supplements where they are present in the above said jurisdictions, and attempts to analyze whether these criteria are suitable for addressing the toxicological risks associated with the use of botanical food supplement products, based on the evaluation of reported adverse effects related to botanical food supplement use as examples. Finally, this study discusses some future issues that need further attention, such as the consideration of less than lifetime exposures, potential for misidentification, and adulteration of botanical supplements by pharmacologically active substances. It is concluded that the regulatory approaches towards botanical food supplements differ significantly across jurisdictions. In addition, national authorities are increasingly considering having more regulatory oversight for such products. Further consideration of the actual impact of adverse events arising from botanical food supplement usage will be helpful in guiding such decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-834
JournalComprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • botanical food supplements
  • botanicals
  • regulatory challenges
  • regulatory framework
  • risk assessment


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