Codex and Supplement Industry
- 05-04-2005, 09:50 PM
Codex and Supplement Industry
Thought some would find this interesting. Info is from Mercola's web site, Mercola.com
By Jim Turner
The 28th meeting of The Codex Alimentarius Commission in Rome July 4-9 will consider adopting vitamin and mineral guidelines based on regulatory principles that, while not immediately limiting the access to dietary supplements of consumers in the United States, could significantly restrict access to vitamin and mineral supplements worldwide. Consumers should act to urge adoption of U.S. law as the international standard.
Committees of the Codex Commission other than the Committee on Nutrition and Foods For Special Dietary Uses, the committee that recommended the vitamin and mineral guidelines to the commission, routinely consider matters relating to food trade that raise serious questions of consumer safety and health such as the following:
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
- Antibiotics, hormones and pesticide residues in food
- rBGH growth hormone in dairy cows
How Codex Changes the Landscape For Supplements
This summer, the commission will meet to approve vitamin and mineral guidelines that were finalized by the Codex nutrition committee in Bonn, Germany last November. If the committee moves forward and approves these guidelines, Codex will restrict access to vitamins and minerals in five ways:
- Setting upper safe limits (maximum potencies) for each vitamin and mineral based on scientific risk assessment.
- Marginalizing the nutrient supplement possibilities for the nearly 1 billion people worldwide, who, by international standards, go hungry. (Also, the population-based Codex standards under-appreciate the nutritional status of the remaining 4.6 billion people, a majority of whom lack the recommended amount of one or more essential nutrient.)
- Creating, through setting maximum vitamin and mineral consumption limits, an approach to regulating dietary supplements, which is consistent with and leading the way toward, if not itself directly establishing, prior restraint.
- Narrowing the amount of nutrition and health information about vitamins and minerals consumers will be allowed to receive, asserting that only drugs can contain label claims for products that are suitable for the prevention, alleviation, treatment or cure of disease, disorder or particular physiological conditions.
- Fostering the worldwide health assumption that sufficient levels of nutrients can be found in a regular diet.
Natural health consumers must remain active and organized to protect and expand their health rights. Worldwide health could be undermined by the limits to nutrients available in many countries created by Codex guidelines.
Codex, by itself, will not change U.S. laws. Codex's upper potency limits, established for vitamins and minerals, will not restrict U.S. consumer access to high-potency vitamins and minerals, although U.S. companies may choose to dumb down their potencies to mirror their international formulations.
U.S. lawmakers who oppose consumer access to dietary supplements are likely to seize on these guidelines in an attempt to change federal law. Outside this country, however, the Codex guidelines may create more access to vitamins and minerals in some countries while restricting it in others.
Codex misapplies a toxic chemicals risk assessment model to regulate helpful nutrients. Vitamin and mineral guidelines should evaluate nutrients with nutritional science rather than with the toxicological science used to evaluate toxins. Codex fails in this fundamental requirement by erroneously applying toxic chemical risk assessment principles, such as
- Nutrients should be treated as toxins.
- Foods and nutrients are not useful in treating disease.
- Supplements have little value because people can get the limited amounts they need from food.
- Known reference values are more important than unique individual nutrient needs.
- Western science is preferred to individual choice as the best control on access to dietary supplements.
Codex is not, and should not be confused with the European Food Supplement Directive. The European Food Supplement Directive, currently under legal attack in the European Union (EU), if it is likely upheld, will strictly limit European access to many dietary supplements. This law governs European markets and is not part of Codex, though Codex and the EU directive are derived from the same basic toxic chemical risk assessment principles.
Codex's vitamin and mineral guideline should be replaced by the U.S. Dietary Supplement Health Education Act (DSHEA) standard as the international standard for vitamin, minerals and all other dietary supplements. The DSHEA, passed unanimously by the U.S. Congress in 1994, recognizes and protects the value of individuals making personal nutritional and health choices in a way that is rejected by the Codex guidelines
It is the culmination of 50 years of legislation and litigation that has refined the supplement policy of the United States ensuring that individual choice and need play a key role in ensuring private and public health. The Codex guideline subordinates individual choice to professional expertise. The DSHEA balances professionals and people.
Codex information can be received from and sent to U.S. Codex Commission delegate, Dr. F. Edward Scarbrough. Citizens for Health (CFH) is also preparing comments and email campaign to be sent to the delegate. CFH updates on Codex and campaign activities can be found at the Citizens For Health Web site and will be posted on the Weston A. Price Foundation's Web site.
For more details about Codex, visit the U.S. Codex office's official Web site or e-mail them.
Jim Turner serves as general counsel to the Weston A. Price Foundation.
- 05-04-2005, 11:44 PM
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