Big pharma and other powerful groups have suffered a major blow in their efforts to strangle the vitamin industry. A US court has ruled that a manufacturer can make general health claims about its product - a decision that threatens draconian new laws that will be introduced across Europe next year. A US district court has overturned a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bar on a manufacturer of selenium supplements from stating that the mineral helps reduce the risk of cancer. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle upheld complaints from the Alliance for Natural Health USA and others that the FDA ban went against the First Amendment that allows free speech. She said there was credible scientific evidence to demonstrate that selenium helps protect against cancer, and so the manufacturer should be allowed to include the fact in promoting the product. The surprise decision is a blow for European laws that will impose similar restrictions on the sale of vitamins in Europe. Under the Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation, manufacturers will not be allowed to make general health claims about their vitamin and dietary supplements. Rob Verkerk, executive director of ANH International, said: "The verdict in our case against the FDA should be sending shock waves across the Atlantic. If European authorities implement the regulation, it is the European consumer that will be the main loser. Disease prevention using good diets and nutrients will effectively be thrown out of the window." (Source: ANH Press Release, May 31, 2010).