Labour’s European spokesperson on the Environment has accused the Conservatives of ‘jumping on yet another ill-informed bandwagon’ with their opposition to new rules aimed at improving the quality standards and labelling of herbal remedies.
Yorkshire and Humber MEP David Bowe was speaking after the Shadow Health Secretary Tim Yeo had claimed that Labour had failed to fight for the herbal medicines industry when the proposed new rules were debated in the European Parliament.
Said David Bowe “It is interesting that Tim Yeo and the Tories put the emphasis on fighting for the industry, whilst what we have been done in Europe is acting in the interests of the consumer…and the responsible companies involved in the herbal remedies business.
“The new rules approved by the European Parliament mean that in future millions of consumers will be better informed—and better protected—and those involved in the production and selling of herbal products will benefit because their customers will have much greater confidence in what they are buying.
“The Tories’ position on this issue is just another example of opportunism without thinking through the consequences. Are they really saying that they do not want people to know what they are buying…and that they do not want proper safety measures to ensure, for example, that products are safe to use for children, pregnant women and elderly people?
“Of course, they will try and peddle lurid stories that ancient remedies that have been in use for centuries will be forced off the shelves, even though such claims are total nonsense. All we are saying is that, when millions of people across Europe are using herbal products, they should be made aware of what conditions they are intended to treat and what, if any side effects, they might have.
“That isn’t interfering with people’s rights of freedom of choice…it is just common sense.”