UNRAVELING CODEX AND
March 31, 2005
1:00 AM Eastern
Persistent rumors continue to circulate the Internet that effective June 1, 2005, Americans will no longer be allowed to purchase vitamin supplements, herbs, minerals, homeopathic remedies, aminoacids and nutritional supplements. Choice will be gone and one doctor wrote in a recent column, "No supplements can be sold for preventative or therapeutic use."
According to a report from Suzan Walter, president of American Holistic Health Association, on her attendance November 1-3, 2004 at the session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses in Bonn, Germany:
"It's over. After more than a decade of wrangling, the Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements as drafted by CCNFSDU have been completed and sent on for final adoption by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) at its summer 2005 session. While governments may submit comments to the CAC by March 31, 2005, the formal finalization is expected to be merely a formality. International "harmonization" of regulations continues.
"The completion of debate on the Guidelines this year was not surprising, as the last of the major areas of disagreement were addressed at the 2003 session. What is significant is that because there are so many related matters that remain to unfold, it is not possible to state with assurance exactly how the Guidelines will impact us in future years.
"The official Codex position, according to what was stated from the podium at the CCNFSDU session, is that Codex documents are not mandatory. Member countries decide how they wish to use them. The error of omission from this public position is that Codex signed agreements with the World Trade Organization (WTO). These agreements give the WTO the right to use any Codex document as an international trade standard. Therefore, the Guidelines can be used as a mandatory international trade standard by the WTO dispute resolution system. This is definitely not the impression that the CCNFSDU chair was giving to the assembled 280 assembled delegates from 62 countries and 25 non-governmental international organizations.
"It will be important to watch the progress of the Codex project to update international Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) from what was developed by the Helsinki Consultation in 1988. NRVs determine what can be put on labels for all foods, not just dietary supplement labels. The discussions have revealed that a number of countries are against any indication that nutrition can prevent disease.
"The Guidelines rely upon safe upper levels established by scientific risk assessment to determine the maximum amount of a vitamin or mineral allowed in a supplement product. Exactly which organizational body (FAO, WHO, or Codex) ends up developing the risk assessment protocol could be vitally important. Also, the level of integrity of the experts who are selected to apply this protocol will determine the quality of the outcome. Science can be pure, or it can be manipulated to a desired end result. The individuals who hold the power to select the experts to serve on the decision-making bodies may determine our future access to dietary supplements.
"The issue is more than what will be allowed in a supplement product. There are Codex committees dealing with what nutrient claims can be made about a product, what educational information can be provided to consumers, and what nutrient information can be placed on a supplement product label. These matters will impact our free access to nutritional information in the future."
At this time, these guidelines are voluntary, not mandatory. However, constitutional hawks warn that this is sure to change for the worse regarding the ability of Americans to choose alternatives to conventional medicine because of America being tied to the World Trade Organization and the loss of American sovereignty. One organization has already taken dramatic steps to counter mandatory requirements under CODEX. According to a press release from the Alliance for Natural Health:
case in European Court of Justice
"The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) and Nutri-Link Ltd announce that their case in the European Court of Justice seeking to overturn the Food Supplements Directive ban on many natural food-form vitamin and mineral supplements has now been listed for hearing on 25 January 2005.
"The ANH is seeking to challenge the ban in the EU Food Supplements Directive (FSD) on many advanced, natural high potency food supplements.
"From 1 August 2005, the FSD will only allow products containing nutrients which are included on a specific �positive list� to be sold in EU countries, despite the fact that many products containing off-list ingredients were previously being sold without any problems in a number of Member States prior to the proposed ban.
"For many years countries such as the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden and Ireland have followed a flexible regime whereby food supplements have been regarded as �food� and can be put on the market provided they are safe and correctly labelled. It is left up to the consumer to choose which products are bought.
"Without these products consumers will be deprived of access to the most effective supplements of their choice and practitioners will lose many of their most useful sources of key nutrients and many supplier companies will be driven out of business."
Opponents of the FSD maintain this meddling in the alternative health industry is a thinly disguised campaign by the pharmaceutical industry to deprive Americans the right to choose alternative health supplements. Maddy Lincoln, a California woman who has long been a consumer of alternative health supplements is very upset saying, "This is the big pharmaceutical industries who are losing hundreds of billions of dollars because people are finally catching on that they can stay healthy without all their pills and fancy medicine. The big money wants to deprive us the right to choose how we treat our own bodies and these crooks in Congress who own big stock in these pharmaceutical companies or get big campaign money from them are selling us out."
Others question whether or not alternative health care providers and retailers of supplements can be forced by some international body to conform to the EU's directives. The big question here seems to be whether or not the United States is a sovereign nation or does America have to continue to dance to the tune of foreign countries? The outcome of the Alliance for Natural Health's case will have far reaching repercussions.
Some disagree that the United States should even argue in an international court giving any validation that international law can trump American sovereignty.
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"The official Codex position, according to what was stated from the podium at the CCNFSDU session, is that Codex documents are not mandatory. Member countries decide how they wish to use them. ...