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Editorial Issue 114

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 114 - August 2005

The ruling about the EU Food Supplement Directive (FSD) at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 12th July has, thankfully, not resulted in the Armageddon scenario previously feared by all who believe in the freedom of choice to optimize our health using nutritional and herbal supplements.

I would urge all Positive Health readers to examine carefully the communiqués published in the Letters section of this issue (see pages 49-52). These include a detailed analysis by the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), which highlights important concessions granted:

"The Court seemed to have reached the ultimate compromise: it was allowing the EU Institutions to avoid major embarrassment over an invalidated Directive, yet it still had to deal with the very significant problems that the Directive was going to pose to the availability of food (dietary) supplements, particularly those that contained ingredients identical to those found in foods."

It is anticipated that as a result of the ECJ decision:

• The vast majority of vitamin and mineral food supplements will not be banned on 1 August;
• The Directive now does not apply to natural forms of vitamins and minerals normally found in the diet;
• Where it is necessary to be on the positive list, gaining admission will now be a much simpler, less time consuming and more affordable process than was previously the case;
• The burden of proof for showing an ingredient to be unsafe will now lie with the regulator and not the manufacturer.

However, we are not out of the woods yet. As the ANH continue in their analysis:

"Further legislative proposals by the EU are due to be considered by the European Parliament later this year and next. These include restrictions on herbal products, on maximum dosages of vitamins and minerals and restrictions on health claims of foods. Again, the ANH is working to help positively shape such legislation using its mantra of 'good science and good law'."

Another, more adversarial view than that of the ANH, was adopted by the Health Food Manufacturers' Association (HFMA) and The National Association of Health Stores (NAHS) (see Letters pages 51-52). Speaking just following the ECJ verdict on 12th July, these Bodies stated:

"We call on the Prime Minister, who currently holds the EU Presidency, to deliver now on his stated commitments and go to Brussels to get the legislation rewritten in such a way that the UK is allowed to permit onto its national market products which otherwise lie outside its restrictive scope. There is still a golden opportunity to bring great news to millions of supplement users".

…"The implementation of this directive will negatively affect consumers and the health food industry, not only in the UK but across Europe. The ECJ exists to do justice in the EU, but today's verdict fails to recognise the shortcomings of this directive or protect the interests of consumers and businesses."

We have not heard further from the HFMA or NAHS since the release of the verdict; it is possible that given more time to digest the detail of the ECJ ruling, they may modify their views.

I would also urge PH readers to look at the Codex Guidelines on Food Supplements Approved in Rome letter on page 55. "In a retrograde step for health freedom, the text for the Codex Guidelines on Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements was accepted on 4 July 2005… it seems that few countries have fully appreciated that these Guidelines are a slippery slope to global guidelines and subsequent regulation for all natural health products, which could interfere with the future availability of traditions of botanical medicine, some of them thousands of years old."

Codex is the international part of the World Trade Organization which applies to regulations about foods, supplements and medicines. As part of our professional knowledge as health practitioners, we owe it to ourselves, our families and our patients to keep abreast of the latest developments in these hugely political battles taking place, which appear to have as their backdrop, the commercial interests of those corporations threatened by consumers wishing to consume vitamins, minerals and herbs. I leave it to PH readers to fill in the blanks.

Very sadly, several people close to Positive Health have lost their prolonged battles with cancer, including our much beloved Expert Regular Columnist Vivienne Silver-Leigh who died on 15th June. Vivienne, who had lived with cancer since her original diagnosis in 1979, had lived many years cancer-free. She recently wrote Living Positively with Cancer in Issue 111 (May '05) of Positive Health. We will miss her sorely, as she was a true traveller on a holistic journey which searched for and combined many successful approached to living with cancer, a journey which straddled some 25 years. Her sons will be writing a Tribute to their mother in a forthcoming issue of PH. Others known to us are at this moment, fighting for their lives; our best wishes and prayers to all in this situation.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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