To: IAHF List
Subject: Open Letter to Congressman Burton and Beth Clay: See CSPI's Comments to FDA RE Codex General Standards for Food Additives
From: "International Advocates for Health Freedom" firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 00:24:03 -0400 (EDT)
To: The Honorable Dan Burton
Chair- House Government Reform Committee
c/o Beth Clay
cc Congressman Ron Paul c/o Norman Singleton
Dear Congressman Burton:
In the comments below, Center for Science in the Public Interests attorney Bruce Silverglade is demanding that the FDA not take any actions before the Codex Commission re General Standards for Food Additives that threaten to set the USA up to lose in a WTO Trade Dispute.
I will be monitoring FDA's actions vis a vis Silverglade's comments closely to see if they ignore him or not. I predict FDA will ignore him and that the USA will be set up by FDA's illegal actions to lose in a WTO trade dispute. As Silverglade correctly states here, via the Sanitary Phytosanitary Measures Agreement, we are obligated to either change our domestic laws to be in accordance with a finalized Codex Standard, or we will lose in a WTO Trade Dispute.
I have made the same prediction regarding FDA's actions at Codex re dietary supplements. On March 20, 2001, you stated that you intended to ask the Congressional Research Service to carefully examine the FDA's contention that the USA "could never" be forced by the WTO to harmonize our domestic dietary supplement laws to a finalized Codex standard. I sent you questions that I wanted you to ask CRS about this. Those questions are located at http://www.iahf.com under Whats New, April 1.
I have still received no response to those questions, and have also received no response from the US Trade Representatives Office to questions I asked about this, wanting to know exactly how they would handle a possible trade dispute should one ever arise over this issue of dietary supplements. I have complained about this to my Senators and Congressmen. I am also in touch with the attorney from Friends of the Earth who has filed a lawsuit against the USTR for refusing to divulge the working draft of the FTAA Trade Agreement.
In light of the very hard hitting comments (below) from Bruce Silverglade of CSPI, which in many ways dovetail with my own comments and concerns about Codex, I would appreciate it very much if you would please provide me with CRS's response to the questions I sent you right after the March 20 Oversight Hearing.
I would also appreciate knowing what you think of Silverglade's concerns as expressed below. In light of Silverglades concerns, I would appreciate it if you would show this to CRS to hasten their response to my questions. I am ccing this to my own Congressman, and Senators, and am asking everyone on my listserve to do the same.
Its been 3 months since the CODEX Oversight Hearing was held. Everyone on my listserve, would appreciate it if CRS would respond more quickly to your request for clarification on this, as well as ours. Given tht Friends of the Earth is suing the USTR over refusing to divulge details about FTAA, it would appear that a concerted effort is underway by traitors to our Constitution to undermine our domestic law and to force us into global governance, whether we like the idea or not. Please read CRS's Codex Comments to FDA below, and please forward them to CRS to hasten their response.
October 23, 1997
Dr. Alan Rulis
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (HFS-200)
Office of Pre-Market Approval
200 C Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20204
Re: Comments on matters arising from the 22nd session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission as related to food additives and contaminants
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) submits these comments on the Codex General Standard for Food Additives: Proposed Draft Schedules of Food Additives (Antioxidants, Preservatives, Stabilizers, Thickeners and Sweeteners) Specifically Permitted in Foods. We urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strenuously oppose the adoption of those portions of the General Standard that pertain to additives, or uses of additives, that have not been approved by the FDA. By failing to take such action, the FDA would be increasing the possibility that foreign nations will challenge the agency's current restrictions on food additives as an illegal trade barrier.
As the FDA knows, Codex standards now carry legal significance within the U.S.
The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) encourages nations to base domestic regulatory standards on international standards developed by the Codex Alimentarius. Domestic regulatory requirements that are based on Codex standards are presumed to be consistent with the SPS Agreement, and those that differ from Codex standards may be
challenged as trade barriers. Therefore, by acquiescing to the inclusion of additives in the Codex General Standard that are not approved for use in the U.S., the agency would be supporting an international standard that could be used by other nations to claim that the FDA's current regulatory requirements are illegal trade barriers. In essence, by failing to object now, the FDA is facilitating a challenge to the agency's regulations brought by a foreign country before a dispute resolution panel of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
If another nation succeeds in a complaint brought before the WTO, the FDA -- and American consumers -- may be forced to accept imports of foods containing the unapproved additive. In theory, while the U.S. could ignore the WTO decision, it would have to pay reparations to the complaining country. As a practical matter, it is unlikely that the Administration and the Congress would resort to ignoring a WTO decision except in extreme cases. In most cases, the FDA would likely be instructed to simply accept the importation of foods containing the unapproved additive.
Even if FDA later went through notice-and-comment rulemaking in such situations to permit the use of the additive in the U.S., such action would merely constitute a post hoc justification for a decision that had already been preordained. As such, any rulemaking conducted by the agency would not represent a genuine opportunity for notice and comment as required by law and would violate both the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C) and the Administrative Procedure Act.
The FDA must not set in motion a series of events that may lead to the bypassing of these statutory requirements. Instead, the FDA must object strenuously and refuse to agree to the inclusion in the Codex General Standard of any additives not approved in the U.S. For example:
* The FDA must not agree to the inclusion of cyclamates in the General Standard. Cyclamates have been banned in the U.S. since 1970, but the Codex General Standard would allow its use in several types of food. The FDA banned cyclamate after animal studies linked the artificial sweetener to birth defects, the impairment of the function of testes, and the enhancement of the carcinogenic effect of cancer-causing chemicals. Nonetheless, the Codex General Standard would allow the use of cyclamates in carbonated water-based flavored drinks, which could result in the consumption of large amounts of a food additive that the FDA has previously found to be unsafe.
* The FDA must also object to the inclusion of sucralose in the Codex General Standard. Codex would permit the use of sucralose, another artificial sweetener, in carbonated water-based flavored drinks. The FDA has not approved the use of this additive, and the addition of this unapproved substance to foods as frequently consumed as soft drinks would raise serious public health concerns.
Similarly, the FDA must oppose the adoption of portions of the Codex General Standard that permit the use of additives at levels or in specific foods that have not been approved by the agency. The FDA has the statutory responsibility to ensure that food additives are safe by prescribing limitations on the levels of use, by restricting the types of foods in which the additive can be used, and by limiting the additive's purpose for which it may be used.
Nonetheless, a number of provisions in the Codex General Standard allow for the use of additives in specific foods and in quantities that are not permitted by the FDA in the U.S. For example:
* The FDA permits acesulfame-K to be used in the U.S. only in yogurt, baked goods, confections, and other select items, but the General Standard would allow acesulfame-K also to be used in canned vegetables, infant formula, and foods for young children. * The Codex General Standard proposes to allow the use of aspartame in infant formula and weaning foods. Such uses in the U.S. would violate FDA regulations.
In sum, the FDA must reverse the position that it has traditionally taken at Codex meetings. In light of the new legal effect of Codex standards, the agency must not agree to portions of the General Standard on Food Additives that pertain to substances that are banned or not approved for specific uses, or at specific levels, in the U.S. If the agency acquiesces to such portions of the Codex General Standard, it would be failing to oppose an international rule that could be used by other nations to claim that the FDA's current regulatory requirements pose illegal trade barriers. In brief, the FDA will be facilitating a trade challenge before the WTO that could very well lead to the invalidation of the agency's own regulations that were issued in accordance with its statutory mandate to protect the health of American consumers.
For the foregoing reasons, we urge the FDA to oppose and, if necessary, refuse to accept portions of the Codex General Standard on food additives that are inconsistent with its current regulatory requirements.
Director of Legal Affairs
CSPI Documents Library