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Letters to the Editor Issue 130

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 130 - December 2006

Codex Update
Confused over the Relevance of Codex?

Much has been written and said about the significance of Codex guidelines. The FDA in the USA, and a number of major Natural Health Trade associations, uphold that Codex will not have any effects on nutrients sold within the US, and will only affect exports to countries who decide to adopt Codex guidelines, like Europe and many African and Asian countries.

Unravelling Codex – Simply
This is not the place to get into the finer details of how Codex or the WTO works or how, in our considered view, Codex presents a huge threat to the continued, long-term availability of therapeutic nutrients to consumers all over the world. But given the mass of sometimes conflicting information on the internet, we think it’s worth looking at some of the simple facts that make up the worrying picture of Codex in relation to our ability to self-medicate, self-heal and manage our own health, free - if we should so choose - from the control of the pharmaceutical industry:
•    Codex guidelines are being applied initially to maximum dosages of vitamins and minerals, but will likely be applied to both ingredients and dosages of other categories of nutrients in the future, just like the EU Food Supplements Directive is in the process of doing across the EU;
•    Codex guidelines are controlled by the EU more than any other country because European member states have agreed that they will vote en bloc behind the unelected European Commission that has been the primary driver of ultra-restrictive legislation in Europe (this way Europe provides 25 votes, against one, for example, from the United States);
•    Codex Guidelines on Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements bear remarkable similarities with the EU Food Supplements Directive, so that, given the control of the European Commission, Codex guidelines can be seen as a mechanism which serves to export restrictive EU laws on food/dietary supplements to the world stage;
•    The Codex Guidelines on Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements are using ‘scientific risk assessment’ as the means of establishing maximum dosages, that will ultimately define, internationally, what is regarded as the borderline between food and medicinal doses. This is not good news given that we have now demonstrated amply that the form of risk assessment that is being used is deeply flawed, and therefore in many cases massively understates maximum safe dosages. Although the some of the natural products industry celebrated the move to ‘scientific risk assessment’ which they saw as a coup over RDA-based maximum levels, the truth is that this new science has been orientated in such a way to give results that are not very different, and in some cases less favourable, than RDA-based approaches;
•    Even if trade sanctions are not imposed following a trade dispute through the WTO, the political, economic and social effects of internationally developed and recognized Codex guidelines are enough to force, in time, the vast majority of countries to bring their national laws into line with Codex. The vitamin and mineral guidelines will not be complete until around 2012 or 2013, so they are giving us lots of time
to adjust to the new regime that will attempt to deprive us of our right to nutrients which have been systematically depleted from our normal food supply;

Media Manipulation
But it gets even worse than this. You may have noticed increased press coverage on safety issues relating to natural health products over the last few years.

This anti-supplement press is part of a deliberate campaign by pharmaceutical interests to skew public opinion against natural health products and self-medication, or frighten people away from complementary health practitioners, while steering them towards orthodox medicine and pharmaceuticals. Millions are being spent on these campaigns all over the world, and the data being presented is often seriously misrepresented. It seems the general public are wiser than this as interest in natural health continues to expand, and many are disillusioned with the ethics, results and side effects associated with pharmaceuticals.

We Need Your Help – NOW!
We have a detailed strategy which tackles many aspects of Codex and related risk assessment issues – and given that we are funded only by donations, we urgently need your help.
It will cost us more than £100,000 (c. US$190,000 or E150,000) this year just to:
•    Attend Codex and other scientific meetings;
•    Compile and submit major submissions;
•    Develop and publicise in scientific circles the reasons why Codex-style, ultra-precautionary, guidelines and regulations are scientifically irrational and erroneous;
•    Help, develop and promote new, scientifically rational models for risk/benefit assessment of nutrients and other natural health products;
•    Coordination of activities with other health freedom organisations, including our affiliate partners in the USA, the AAHF / HFF, and the NHF;
•    Continue our legal challenge on the EU Food Supplements Directive.

Please DONATE NOW – to help us help you. Without your support, we cannot continue this work.

Further Information
Alliance for Natural Health
Tel: 01306 646 600
Fax: 01306 646 552


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