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Chinese quality concerns drive new UK glucosamine import rules

By Shane Starling+

22-Jan-2014

Glucosamine and other ingredients sourced from the likes of prawn shells will be subject to tighter controls in the UK as of February 1
Glucosamine and other ingredients sourced from the likes of prawn shells will be subject to tighter controls in the UK as of February 1

Bulk imports of animal-sourced glucosamine, chondroitin and chitosan into the UK will face new restrictions from February 1 this year.

The new rules stipulate that animal-sourced versions of these ingredients must come from certain EU-certified countries and be backed by strict quality controls. A list of EU-preferred countries and producers can be found here .

The move comes amid longstanding quality and sourcing concerns about product coming into the EU from China and it is these imports that are most likely to be affected by the changes, a market expert told us.

Already packaged products like food supplements will not be subject to the new rules, but new consignments of fishery, bovine, poultry and swine sourced products will be.

“This development is an interim UK position, and we will work with the [European] Commission and other EU member states to develop an EU-harmonised position,” said the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) in a Q&A issued last year before the February 1 transition period extension.

Glucosamine and chitosan are commonly derived from shrimp shells whereas chondroitin is derived from cartilage, usually shark origin but can also of beef, pork or poultry origin.

Suppliers of vegetarian-sourced versions welcomed the verdict with US firm TSI Group stating the move would, “disrupt the supply of animal-derived glucosamine ingredients into Europe."

Vegetarian sources of glucosamine include corn.

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