CODEX::What the EU can’t do. . .

We’re just days away from hearing the verdict from the European Court of Justice on the EU’s Food Supplements Directive, which is set to ban hundreds of supplements from shops across Europe from August. The court is expected to adopt the opinion of the Advocate General, who has ruled that the basis for much of the legislation is unscientific.
So you might think we’re out of the woods. Not a bit of it. The war on vitamins and supplements – and the rights of the consumer to choose his or her own products and quantities – is being fought on two fronts.
Most of us are familiar with the assaults by the EU in a raft of complicated pieces of legislation, but few are aware of Codex (Codex Alimentarius Commission), which has the potential to deliver a mortal blow, and one that could over-rule any successful legal challenges in the European courts.
Codex is overseen by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food & Agricultural Organization, and is supported by over 100 countries. For the past 10 years it has been quietly deliberating on the best method for assessing the safety of dietary supplements, a process that took a crucial step forward on July 4. It is close to adopting a method known as Scientific Risk Assessment (SRA), which will be the preferred system for determining ‘safe upper limits’ of vitamins and minerals.
There are several problems with SRA. It’s scientifically flawed, and includes faulty procedures, and, worse still, it appears to be politically motivated. The French and German delegates are in the driving seat in getting SRA adopted, and so it is a method that is likely to arrive at the very low safe upper limits currently adopted in those two countries. In Germany, for instance, the safe upper limit for vitamin C is a meagre 225 mg.
The Codex delegates are sympathetic to the SRA method. Not only are they expected to vote in favour of its adoption, several members have also expressed deep suspicion of therapeutic levels of vitamins, which are far higher than current RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowance). The American representative, for example, has stated that any vitamin level above current RDAs merely enriches the urine.
Dr Rob Verkerk of the pressure group Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) has been trying to get Codex to adopt the more balanced assessment model being developed by the HAN Foundation, and he gets his last chance in November, when Codex next meets and is likely to adopt the SRA. The HAN model takes into account the benefits of dietary supplements, something that the World Health Organization consistently ignores.
Meanwhile, the EU is still trying to decide on safe upper limits, but it doesn’t take an enormous leap of the imagination to see members adopting CODEX’s SRA model. This would be an enormous triumph for the French and German delegates, who have consistently failed to win the argument in Brussels. The EU is under no legal obligation to adopt the SRA, but if it is agreed to be the ‘best practice’ guideline by Codex, it can be adopted as a standard to be applied in all EU member states.
Many critics of the EU accuse it of being remote, and say its circuitous corridors of power disenfranchise the electorate. CODEX is worse. It’s not even a democratic organization. It is self-appointed, and is answerable to nobody. Instead it is a talking shop for representatives from groups such as America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its equivalents around the world, and it’s one with enormous influence.
Its ostensible role may be to ‘guide’ and ‘recommend’, but such is the power wielded by its delegates that guidelines quickly become laws and standards, and without recourse to the electorate who ultimately have to abide by their rulings.
* The ANH needs your support. Its various legal challenges need money, and so any contribution, no matter how small, will help keep alive the fight. The ANH is also presenting on its website a new film, called We Become Silent, which spells out the consequences of the Codex guidelines. It’s made by award-winning film-maker Kevin P Miller, and it’s narrated by UK actress Dame Judi Dench, known to most of you as ‘M’ in the recent James Bond films. It costs the ANH £1 ($1.80) every time anyone downloads the film. They’re happy to bear the cost if it helps to raise public awareness, but please consider making a donation if you agree with the film. The ANH website is:

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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