Public Sector: European health body set for raft of agency hires

The European Commission Health and Consumer Protection Directorate has put more than £20m-worth of contracts up for grabs.

Briefs include the creation of an 'information and communication policy', promotional material supply, media relations across all member states and graphic design services.

The commission wants promotional material for the directorate to span consumer protection, public health, food safety, plant protection and animal welfare. The body is responsible for food labelling, monitoring food imports to the UK and developing controls.

Next year officials will consider proposed legislation on limiting the potency of food supplements, likely to cause a storm in the alternative health industry.

A bill to ban food supplements was referred to the European Court of Justice earlier this year following a challenge by the UK-based Alliance for Natural Health.

The commission wanted to ban supplements on the basis that they do not pass the same vigorous testing as pharmaceutical drugs.

The alternative medicine industry claimed the bill was over-zealous and managed to block it, arguing that alternative medicine producers did not have the same financial backing as pharma firms and could not afford to test their products to the same degree.

Commission officials are expected to make a decision on the four-year contracts in the autumn. The deadline for applications has passed.

Robert Madelin is the director-general of the directorate.

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