To: IAHF LIST
Subject: Whats Next and Why the Silence? What to Do Now - Plus Form Letter
From: John Hammell firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 18:02:23 -0400
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Everyone: This summarizes some of the more important points made in the longer article sent out earlier today.
If you do have time to read the longer article, please do as it will help you to have the best understanding of what is going on, but if you're pressed for time, at least please use this and please make use of the form letter contained herein! Please forward this, and encourage more people to join the IAHF list!
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Some of you have been wondering where I've been. I was having a problem with LISTBOT, and couldn't figure out til today why my messages weren't going out through it. Seems they have a limit of no more than 100 characters in the subject lines of messages, but I didn't know what was wrong and their customer service wasn't getting back to me but now the problem is fixed. I was also feeling a tad burned out after getting back from Berlin, but am up and at 'em again now.
I've been pondering this for a while. Of course we still need to push for an Oversight hearing on Codex, but now we have added new ammunition that should help us get one. Today I finally got an in depth report out to all of you about what happened in Berlin and leading up to it regarding the Codex meeting.
The form letter in my report sums things up pretty well. Here it is again in case any of you lacked the time to read the longer article its contained in that I sent out earlier today. I just spoke with Norm Singleton in Congressman Paul's office, and he is going to help us by trying to get a meeting with Bruce Artim on Senator Hatch's staff to discuss the following with him:
In the article that I just sent to you today, I quoted an exchange that Bruce Artim and I had a week before the Codex meeting back in June. If you recall, we had asked Hatch to go to Federal Court and get an injunction against the FDA to force them to obey the law at Codex. Artim called me wanting to know what the emergency was. He said "said "John! Don't you feel protected by that amendment that you worked so hard to get back in '97 to the FDA Modernization Act (FDAMA) which specifically exempts dietary supplements from the harmonization language!" And I said no, because the FDA is ignoring it. So he said, "John! What about the exemption clause (19 U.S.C. 3512(a)(1) which provides that "no provision of any of the Uruguay Round Agreements, nor the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance that is inconsistent with any law of the United States shall have any effect?"
My response: "Bruce! That exemption clause is only a paper tiger! In THEORY it protects US laws from harmonization, but there have been seven documented intances wherein the USA has lost trade disputes, and changes have been indirectly forced to US laws under threat of trade sanctions! For this reason Congressman Paul has 56 cosponsors on House Joint Resolution 90 which would get us out of the WTO! Although it is true that the WTO can't DIRECTLY force us to change our laws to comform to international standards such as Codex standards, they can apply so much pressure to Congress through the threat of trade sanctions that Capital Hill crawls with lobbyists demanding that we harmonize our laws so that the industries they represent doesn't get hurt by the trade sanctions!"
I suggested that Bruce examine a paper by the Jeanne J. Grimmett of the Congressional Research Service titled "WTO Dispute Settlement" (at iahf.com) which discusses trade disputes that we have lost and the changes resulting to our laws. I also told him that health freedom attorney Milton Bass had examined the statute that allegedly protects us from harmonization and felt that it is very loosely written, warning that it opens a Pandora's box in terms of interpretation. (What if we don't have something in our law that a Codex rule calls for (eg restrictions on availability of high potency vitamins). Would Codex restrictions be INCONSISTENT with US law if thats not IN our law? Bass says "no!"
Now - further corroborating Bass's fears, the amendment I got back in '97 to FDAMA affords us no protection!! Norm Singleton in Congressman Paul's office ran it past the Congressional Research Service to see if it was worded strongly enough to stop the FDA from participating in the Codex process with regards to dietary supplements in an effort to push towards a highly restrictive Codex standard. CRS said that it was not- it leaves room for interpretation!
(In a letter dated June 16, 2000 L.Robert Lake, Director, Office of Regulations and Policy, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at FDA told me that the amendment to FDAMA "operates solely to release FDA from the affirmative obligation established by paragraph (c)(3) of participating in international harmonization efforts with regard to dietary supplements. It does not prohibit FDA from participating in those efforts.")
Thus, FDA is taking a highly predictable "artful dodge" around the will of Congress and the will of the people! I worked incredibly hard to get that amendment back in '97, walking miles all over capital hill while consumers who I'd alerted flooded the Senate Labor Committee with enough faxes to make their machines run out of paper and ink. Afterwards, Senator Hatch had this to say in the Congressional Record about our amendment. His statement along with the "Dear Colleague Letter" signed by Congressman Paul and Chenoweth represent the will of Congress on this issue but are being ignored:
Senate floor comments of Senator Hatch after passage of the FDA Modernization Act of 1997 (S830):
And on behalf of the dietary supplement manufacturers, and most importantly the 100 million or so consumers -- most of whom seem to have called our offices in the last few weeks -- let me thank you for making sure that the bill does not undo the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in any way and that dietary supplements will remain what they are, food products, not drugs.
Published in the Congressional Record on 11/9/97.
I asked Norm Singleton in Congressman Paul's office if the FDA legally has to obey the will of Congress or the will of the people as reflected by statements such as this in the Congressional Record, or as recorded in Committee Reports, colloquys, or Dear Colleague letters, and Norm said "Some Judges will consider this information, but they are under no obligation to look beyond the letter of the law as expressed in the statute, and some won't look any further than to consult a dictionary when interpreting a statute."
Folks: We are in trouble! Jeanne Grimmett of the Congressional Research Service documents in her article "WTO Dispute Settlement" that the USA has lost 7 trade disputes, and that changes have been indirectly forced to our laws as a result. Granted, Congress made those changes to our law, and now the WTO, but they resulted under the threat of trade sanctions, so NONE of our laws, including DSHEA, are safe. Any of our laws can be forced to change, so the exemption clause that Senator Hatch's aide, Bruce Artim, thinks is "protecting" us, clearly is not! (Your Congressman can download Grimmett's article from http://www.congress.gov/brbk/html/ebtra56.html and it will be available to consumers at http://www.iahf.com/
The Congressional Research Service has examined the amendment that we worked so hard to get in '97 to FDAMA, and they tell us that it does NOT stop the FDA from participating in Codex efforts to push through a finalized Codex standard. FDA has clearly indicated in their letter to me dated June 16, 2000 that they do not feel in any way bound by that amendment as discussed in detail above.
Based on their interpretation of the law, the FDA has ignored written Congressional requests to not put the pharmaceutically funded, heavily biased, grossly unscientific NAS paper on the table at Codex. This paper, plus Dr.Rick Malter's rebuttal, and the letters from Congress to the FDA about this can be viewed at http://www.iahf.com/.
Malter's paper has just been published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, but Dr.Beth Yetley refuses to read it. Senator Hatch and Bruce Artim haven't yet read the NAS paper or Malter's rebuttal because they don'tyet grasp that the exemption statute which allegedly protects our laws from harmonization is a paper tiger, and the CRS article proves it! Hopefully Senator Hatch will now communicate with the Congressional Research Service to discuss their interpretation of the amendment to FDAMA since they say it doesn't stop FDA at all. Congressman Burton, Chair of the Oversight Committee is being misled, perhaps intentionally in the meantime by CRN, NNFA and Citizens for Health who are telling him that oversight on the Codex vitamin issue "isn't necessary." He and Beth Clay should take a much closer look at all of this as well in light of the points made above.
How can Senator Hatch and Congressman Burton ignore the conflict of interest within CRN, NNFA and Citizens for Health? They are dominated by pharmaceutical interests. In 1999 Hoffman La Roche was fined $500 Million by the Department of Justice for engaging in illegal price fixing in the sale of vitamin raw materials while BASF was fined $250,000,000. They are members of CRN and NNFA respectively, along with many other pharmaceutical companies- which pay the most in dues. The Chairman of Citizens for Health's International Committee, Randy Dennin, is an employee of Capsugel which is owned by Warner Lambert, which was recently bought out by Pfizer. Is it really a surprise under the circumstances that these groups have no objection to the FDA proceeding towards development of a highly restrictive Codex vitamin standard? Is it really a surprise that they endorse the grossly biased, heavily unscientific NAS paper which the FDA is handing to the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body as the alleged "gold standard" on vitamin safety so that we will be set up to lose in a trade dispute?
Members of these trade associations and Citizens for Health as well as ALL vitamin consumers world wide need to look VERY CLOSELY at the NAS paper, and Malter's rebuttal and give serious consideration to this whole article, then call it to the attention of your elected officials while demanding accountability. Please follow these instructions and urge others to follow suit:
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
To The Honorable
US Senate (or US House of Representatives)
Washington DC 20510 (Senate)
Washington DC 20515 (House)
Dear Senator (or Congressman) _______________________________:
The exemption clause (USC 3512(a)(1) and (a)(2) which allegedly protects our laws from harmonization to international standards, such as Codex standards, is a paper tiger as evidenced by the article "WTO Dispute Settlement" by Jeanne Grimmett of the Congressional Research Service which shows 7 trade disputes that the USA has lost. The article illustrates that due to the threat of trade sanctions, DESPITE the supposed exemption clause, Congress DID change our laws because of the enormous pressures put on them by lobbyists from multinational corporations who contribute millions to congressional campaigns.
I do not trust promises from Congress or the FDA that this statute will in FACT block the FDA from eventually harmonizing our dietary supplement laws to a very restrictive Codex vitamin standard, and feel that the FDA is blatantly ignoring the will of Congress over this issue (See Senator Hatch's floor statement on 11/9/97 regarding S.830) Oversight Hearings are badly needed to enforce the will of the people and the will of Congress.
Senator Hatch is of the belief that the FDA is kept in check on this issue by an amendment to the FDA Modernization Act of 1997 which in theory makes it illegal for FDA to take any action at Codex intended to foster completion of a finalized Codex vitamin standard. The Congressional Research Service has examined the amendment and found that it does not stop FDA from doing anything at Codex - it is too loosely worded, and FDA is also taking this interpretation while utterly ignoring the will of Congress as expressed through Senator Hatch's statement about the vitamin amendment in the Congressional Record on 11/9/97 regarding passage of S.830.
Please sponsor an amendment with teeth that will protect us, because it is obvious that the amendment in '97 does not, and FDA is ignoring the will of the people and the will of Congress as a result. See http://www.iahf.com/ "Amendment Needed" for more details.
Please hold oversight hearings on the Codex vitamin issue in order to closely examine the positions the FDA has been taking.
Please communicate your concerns on this issue to the US Trade Representatives Office and ask him how they would handle it if we lost in a trade dispute because the FDA is arming the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body with a paper that establishes an unscientific "gold standard" on vitamin safety which would be used against us in a trade dispute. Please get the US out of the WTO by cosponsoring HJR 90 which is sponsored by Congressman Paul.
Please let me know if you have carefully reviewed my specific concerns, and if you intend to take action in my behalf.
1. Fax, email or mail this article to your Senators and Congressman along with the enclosed form letter (your own letter would be better) to request that oversight hearings be held on the Codex vitamin issue. You can call them via 202-225-3121, the Capital Switchboard.
2. Especially fax, email or mail this article along with your note or the form letter to Congressman Dan Burton, c/o Beth Clay email@example.com, fax attn Beth Clay 202-225-3974, Room 2157 RHOB Washington DC 20515.
3. Also fax, email, or mail this article along with your note or the form letter to: Senator Orrin Hatch c/o Bruce Artim fax 202-228-0029, firstname.lastname@example.org, Room SD 224 Washington DC 20510
4. Send it to all Presidential candidates and make an issue out of it.
5. If you live outside the USA, please send this article to your members of Parliament, or other elected officials and demand oversight!
Information provided by John C. Hammell, legislative advocate, International Advocates for Health Freedom, POB 625 Floyd VA 24091 USA
http://www.iahf.com/ email@example.com, Tel. 800-333-2553, overseas 540-745-6534, fax 540-745-6535 Donations and clients badly needed!
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