Subject: CODEX: How We're Being SET UP Via SPS Agreement/NAS Paper Info Excerpted from the WTO Website
From: John Hammell
Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000 15:52:08 -0500

LEF and other Webmasters: Please Post.

Everyone: Please Forward Widely.


To fully understand how Codex is being used to restrict our access to vitamins and minerals, it is necessary to understand the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, ("SPS") which pertains to CODEX created food safety standards which are based on (pseudo) "scientific risk assessment".

I have excerpted material below my comments from the WTO website. The excerpted material bears close scrutiny, or you won't understand exactly how we're being set up for Codex "harmonization" via (pseudo)"scientific risk assessment" standards which would severely restrict our access to high potency vitamins and minerals except by prescription.

Under the SPS Agreement,if a country has a HIGHER STANDARD than an international standard that country must JUSTIFY their higher standard on a basis of SAFETY (determined by "scientific risk asssessment") to the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (Mickey Mouse Court with no provisions to guard against conflict of interest, that rubber stamps multinational corporate agendas.)

If we CAN'T justify our higher standards (greater consumer access to high potency vitamins and minerals which the complaining country would want to sell here as a prescription "drug") the country bringing the charge against us can be allowed to hit us with an ENORMOUS discriminatory tarriff, (trade sanctions) which can severely curtail our ability to export all sorts of goods and services to that country.

What would enable them to do this is that there is no protection against conflict of interest when it comes to panelists (Judges) on the WTO Dispute Settlement Body. The two countries involved in the trade dispute select 3 Judges. The pharmaceutical industry would have considerable political ability to stack the deck against us by politically manipulating who gets inserted onto the DSB as a Judge. The THREAT of these trade sanctions (if we don't harmonize our laws to the restrictive Codex vitamin standard that is now emerging) would result in incredible lobbying pressure from a lot of different industries on Congress, which can't withstand that pressure due to being awash in PAC donations that they need to competitively run for reelection. Thus the WTO can't DIRECTLY force us to change our laws to coincide with the ultra restrictive Codex vitamin standard which is emerging, but they can INDIRECTLY bring this about.

The KEY to understanding this is that the FDA has illegally put a paper on the table at Codex. This paper would be regarded by the DSB to be the "GOLD STANDARD" on scientific risk assessment regarding vitamin safety and that ties in with our legal requirement under the SPS Agreement. This paper never underwent peer review, it was never placed under public scrutiny via a formal comments period prior to being put on the table at Codex, and due to how the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body is set up as a stacked deck, there won't be any opportunity to challenge its conclusions. The paper "A Risk Assessment Model for Establishing Upper Levels for Nutrients" was generated by the pharmaceutically funded National Academy of Sciences. Congress MUCT force FDA to adhere to current US law by REMOVING this paper from the table at CODEX, and it must be REPLACED with a paper that is consistent with current US dietary supplement laws.

If this doesn't happen- they'll have SUCCEEDED in SETTING US UP for "harmonization" on a basis of the (pseudo) scientific risk assessment standards recommended by the National Academy of Science, a non government organization which is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, so we can't get the CVs of the authors of the paper (which would show conflict of interest) or the raw data behind the paper. (What are they trying to hide?) (On my own I finagled the CV of one of the authors of the NAS paper, Dr.Steven Zeisel, and it shows that he received over $1.5 million in pharmaceutical grant money the year before the paper was written including a $500,000. grant from Bristol Myers Squibb.)

The information quoted below is from the WTO website, from a section called Understanding the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures. Please read what I've excerpted, then go to the WTO site and study this more in depth so you can understand it and explain it to your Congressman and Senators:

FROM THE WTO WEBSITE: UNDERSTANDING the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures

"The SPS Agreement does, however, encourage governments to "harmonize" or base their national measures on the international standards, guidelines and recommendations developed by WTO member governments in other international organizations. These organizations include, for food safety, the joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission; for animal health, the Office International des Epizooties; and for plant health, the FAO International Plant Protection Convention. WTO member governments have long participated in the work of these organizations — including work on risk assessment and the scientific determination of the effects on human health of pesticides, contaminants or additives in food; or the effects of pests and diseases on animal and plant health. The work of these technical organizations is subject to international scrutiny and review."

"One problem is that international standards are often so stringent that many countries have difficulties implementing them nationally. But the encouragement to use international standards does not mean that these constitute a floor on national standards, nor a ceiling. National standards do not violate the SPS Agreement simply because they differ from international norms. In fact, the SPS Agreement explicitly permits governments to impose more stringent requirements than the international standards. However, governments which do not base their national requirements on international standards may be required to justify their higher standard if this difference gives rise to a trade dispute. Such justification must be based on an analysis of scientific evidence and the risks involved."

(We'd have NO PROBLEM justifying our higher standard if the matter were brought before a US Court, because we'd have NO PROBLEM bringing forth the expert witnesses and documents necessary to PROVE that our higher standard is justified from a public health and safety standpoint.

The PROBLEM is that with the advent of the WTO and its grossly biased "Dispute Settlement Body" they NEVER listen to testimony from individuals, no matter how well qualified. Example: Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw are experts on the safety of vitamins and minerals, but THEY wouldn't be allowed to testify before the DSB of the WTO, and no NGO organization would be allowed to testify either. Only biased GOVERNMENT REPS such as Dr.Yetley of the FDA would be allowed to testify, and they're already manipulated by the pharma cartel, which is why they put the NAS paper on the table at Codex over the direct written objection of Congress.

The FDA and pharmaceutical companies understand Codex PERFECTLY and they're playing it like a pinball machine to make an END RUN around our dietary supplement laws. Most members of Congress don't understand ANY of this- they're too busy to pay attention, just like when they signed off on NAFTA and GATT without reading any of the thousands of pages of fine print. The only thing most of them understand is angry lobbyists making demands under threat of withholding PAC donations that they need to run for reelection.

URGENT: You must make use of the form letter below, and forward it to more people! Our only hope to stop this scam lies in getting a Congressional Oversight Hearing which would force the FDA to remove the NAS paper from the table and replace it with a paper that is consistent with current US dietary supplement laws and with the will of Congress.

Please Stick To Promise of Holding Oversight Hearing on Codex Vitamin Issue