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Letters to the Editor Issue 124

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 124 - June 2006

EU Food Supplement Directive: EU Avoids Taking Responsibility For Human Health

In The Precautionary Principle: A Critique in the Context of the EU Food Supplements (FS) Directive, appearing in this month’s Environmental Liability Journal[1] Dr Jaap C Hanekamp of the HAN Foundation provides a profound scientific and legal critique of the EU Food Supplements Directive.[2] He concludes that, in the Directive, the European Commission avoided taking responsibility for health of European citizens.

The article is the first result of an independent scientific screening of the Directive from the perspectives of toxicology (Prof Dr A Bast, Maastricht University) and risk assessment and risk management (Dr JC Hanekamp). The 10-months study, which was sponsored by International Nutritional Company (INC), is of growing relevance, now that the EU Commission, EFSA and stakeholders are making efforts to fill in the blanks in the FS Directive. The setting of maximum levels is hotly debated and by July 2007, the Commission is bound to explain how it plans to regulate micronutrients other than vitamins and minerals. The main study of both Dr Hanekamp and Prof Bast has been accepted for publication in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

The Directive, so contends Hanekamp in this first publication, is a solid example of how Regulators have become increasingly preoccupied with managing their own political and professional risks and personal reputation. This so-called secondary risk management creates a regulatory culture that, in the case of European food supplements policies, engenders a lopsided focus on presumed risks of excess toxicity, while simultaneously lecturing Europeans to “eat a varied and healthy diet”.

According to Hanekamp, the dietary habits of individual citizens have a far greater impact on health than the Regulators’ efforts to manage presumed risks of micronutrient intoxication. Whether looked at from the viewpoint of the classic micronutrient deficiencies or from the perspective of newly emerging healthy lifespan or optimum health concepts, micronutrient deficiencies pose an infinitely greater risk than intoxication.

Yet, against the backdrops of the all too common bias for negative information about possible health risks of products and activities, Regulators can readily, easily and sharply profile “intoxication as a result of food supplements intake” as a target for regulation. Indeed, the dietary and lifestyle issues that involve nutritional deficiencies are beyond their regulatory reach, because Regulators are not in a position to set rules and regulations that interfere with the individual dietary habits of European citizens. This most fundamentally misdirects the Directive.

INC’s chairman Bert Schwitters underlines how “the article expounds how the Directive’s implicit recourse to precaution, seriously pre-empts market-participation by innovative economic parties. The European Commission’s precautionary stance entails an unremitting assessment of increasing numbers of micronutrients that have already come or will come to market. This will obstruct a level-playing field, and will deprive economic parties from their rights to freely enter the European market. Since the precautionary principle does not require a sound scientific basis to ban or remove a certain product and excludes recourse, market participants’ financial and scientific endeavours are constantly at risk.”

In a reaction to the publication, the director of the Alliance for Natural Health, Robert Verkerk PhD, comments:

“Advocate General Geelhoed and subsequently the European Court of Justice have shown up some of the glaring shortcomings of the first part of the regulatory framework developed by the EU for food supplements. But these problems will pale into insignificance when future parts of the framework are turned into law – unless we see a fundamental sea change in the EU’s approach to food supplement regulation. The new system must take into account health promotion, as well as a scientifically and legally rational approach to consumer safety and harmonisation. Dr Hanekamp’s first study provides us with an important milestone which we hope will help trigger this sea change. We impatiently await the publication of the main study.”


1.    The European Food Supplements Directive Assessed: a Critique, Prof. Aalt Bast, Dr. Jaap Hanekamp. Environmental Liability Journal No 2. Lawtext Publishing Ltd, Oxfordshire UK. 2006.
2.    Directive 2002/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council; On the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to Food Supplements. 10 June 2002.

Further Information

Dr Robert Verkerk,
Executive & Scientific Director
Alliance for Natural Health
Tel: 01306 646 550
The HAN Foundation (Stichting Heidelberg Appeal Nederland) was established in the Netherlands in 1993 and named after the Heidelberg Appeal, a declaration signed in 1992 by over 3500 scientists. HAN is an independent non-profit making alliance of scientists and science supporters whose aim is to ensure that scientific debates are properly aired, and that decisions which are taken and action that is proposed are founded on sound scientific principles.
Dr Jaap Hanekamp, CEO
Heidelberg Appeal Nederland
Tel: + 31 79 346 0304
Fax: + 31 79 346 0643
International Nutrition Company, INC
, is the Netherlands-based, worldwide source of Dr Jack Masquelier’s original Oligomeric ProanthoCyanidins (OPCs).
Bert Schwitters, CEO
International Nutrition Company
Tel: + 31 35 655 0088

Public Vote 90% Against Water Fluoridation Study

On Wednesday 29th March Portsmouth Primary Care Trust (PCT) discussed whether to initiate moves towards water fluoridation. After two presentations in favour of fluoridation and one opposed, ninety percent of the approximately forty people in the audience voted against proceeding towards water fluoridation. This was a clear message from the public attending the meeting against any move towards fluoridation. However the vote by the Portsmouth PCT members was seven in favour and five against, meaning that a study will be done.

John Spottiswoode of South-West Hampshire Green Party and speaking for ‘Hampshire Against Fluoridation’ gave the talk to Portsmouth PCT. Mr Spottiswoode said afterwards “Portsmouth PCT should be commended for listening to the opposing view on fluoridation, unlike Southampton PCT. However it was unlikely that I would swing the vote based on one ten minute presentation. People who have for years had one attitude to fluoridation are not going to change suddenly. They need time to digest the implications of what I said about just how scientifically foolhardy it is to feed fluorides to people. The latest research is not fully understood even by the over-busy professionals. Most were unlikely to be aware of the National Research Council in the USA which last week gave severe warnings about fluoridation of water, backing up what I had presented. I appeal to all those PCT members who voted in favour to have a genuine look at the massive weight of valid scientific research that says that fluoridation is very dangerous to health. If they do this then I can more or less guarantee that we will win the vote and stop fluoridation the next time around when the results of the study are published. If they do not investigate this with open scientific minds, then they are failing in their duty to protect the public from a major human poison.”

Mr Spottiswoode said “If you look at the full age range, including adults, then there is, contrary to general belief, no benefit to teeth from fluoridation at all. In fact, teeth are likely to be worse as around fifty percent of people in fluoridated areas get dental fluorosis. What is more, this dental fluorosis is a symptom of systemic poisoning, meaning that people are being seriously poisoned by fluorides in the water and it is likely to affect their health adversely. Fluoride has been linked by strong scientific research to:
•     Arthritic like symptoms;
•     Brittle bones and increased hip fractures;
•     Osteosarcomas (bone cancers);
•     Memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease;
•     Attention Deficit Disorder and Autism like symptoms;
•     Progressive failure of the thyroid gland;
•    Hypersensitivity, including links to Chronic fatigue Syndrome.

John Spottiswoode finished by saying that “Unfortunately, along with Southampton PCT, we now have two Primary Care Trusts who in Hampshire are prepared to do the government’s bidding and waste money looking in to fluoridation of water. This is scientifically unsupportable, ethically immoral, as it forces people to drink chemicals, and a misuse of public funds.”


1.    John Spottiswoode presented ‘The Scientific Case Against Fluoridation’ to Portsmouth Primary care Trust in St James’ Hospital, Locksway Road, Portsmouth. A copy of his presentation is available as an attachment at
2.    See the Green Party’s report into the negative effects of water fluoridation. Available online:, full references are available within.
3.    A Green Party press briefing on the legality of fluoridation is available online:
4.    Source; ‘One in a million – The facts about water fluoridation’ published by the British Fluoridation Society.

Further Information

For more information please contact Richard Heinrich media officer to the South West Hampshire Green Party on Mob: 07901880351; or John Spottiswoode, SW Hants Green Party fluoridation spokesman on: Mob: 07900 406641;;


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