To: "Health Freedom, Codex Issues
Subject: AS GOES EU- SO GOES CODEX- AS GOES CODEX- SO GOES US VITAMIN LAWS: PROOF US DIETARY SUPPLEMENT LAWS ARE SUBJECT TO HARMONIZATION TO MINDLESSLY RESTRICTIVE UN CODEX VITAMIN STANDARDS - URGENT HELP NEEDED
From: John Hammell firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2001 16:50:30 -0500
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 12/02/2001
All Webmasters Please post!
IAHF List: Dietary Supplement laws in the US (and globally) are heavily threatened by the EU Vitamin Directive due to the impact it will have at the UN's Codex Alimentarius Commission's Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Use on the grossly restrictive Vitamin Guideline at Codex.
Congressmen Ron Paul & Peter De Fazio warned us all in a bipartisan letter to Congressman Burton that according to an August 1999 Report of the Congressional Research Service "As a member of the WTO, the United States does commit to act in accordance with the rules of the multilateral body. It [the US] is legally obligated to insure national laws do not conflict with WTO rules." (See the gif file of this letter at http://www.iahf.com click on the spinning green disk) The congressmen attempted to warn Burton that our dietary supplement laws are being set up for harmonization to a grossly restrictive international Codex standard- but Burton ignored their warning, and whitewashed the hearing- so the truth did not come out, and we're being set up. Vitamin consumers globally must contribute to an ad campaign to put celebrities on TV to rally consumers in the EU to protest the vitamin directive- here is why:
If you value your access to dietary supplements- you must take action now-
In January, the European Commission is threatening to ram through a grossly restrictive EU Vitamin Directive that threatens to limit vitamin potency to RDA levels, to seriously restrict allowable ingredients that dietary supplements can contain, and to severely limit health information on the label. You can get info on this at http://www.vitamins-for-all.org (Disregard the "Victory" notice on the site-- we have had no victory, yes-Codex remained at step 3 and did not advance, but very dangerous language was put into square brackets at the meeting that alligns Codex even more closely with the EU Vitamin Directive, which unless stopped, threatens to go through in January, to impact Codex heavily.) [See Josef Hasslberger's report below my comments- he attended the Codex meeting in Berlin.]
Massive spin control has been done against my message for the past 5 years as I've been trying to call attention to the Codex threat. This spin control has emanated from pharmaceutical interests who have gotten control of the vitamin trade associations, and are manipulating them from the top-down.
They claim that Codex "won't impact US Domestic law (including DSHEA)" They say it will "only impact our international sales." This was what came out at the whitewashed March 20, 2001 Oversight hearing held by Congressman Burton, which was dominated by pharmaceutical interests operating mainly through NNFA's lobbying firm: Parry, Romani, DeConcini and Symms. As you can see from their website, http://www.lobbycongress.com they're dominated by multinational pharmaceutical interests such as Pfizer. The vitamin companies that are clients of theres, (such as Herbal Life) care far more about expanding market share than they do about consumers. For this reason they're not strongly opposed to the EU Vitamin Directive which will help them expand their market, even if what they're allowed to sell is severely restricted. PMDS were able to block me from testifying at the March 20 oversight hearing on Codex along with my other witnesses who could have brought out the facts listed below which clearly indicate that we're being set up.
WHAT I NEED YOUR URGENT HELP WITH & WHY-PROOF THAT WHAT I'M SAYING IS TRUE
I need your help to impress upon American vitamin companies and health food stores the fact that if they don't help the National Assn of Health Stores in the UK to generate TV ads with celebrities to stir the grass roots in Europe up against the EU Vitamin Directive, that it will negatively impact the Codex Vitamin Directive, and our American vitamin laws in turn, will be FORCED to harmonize to a very restrictive Codex vitamin directive. Our ONLY chance, world wide, is to STOP the EU Vitamin directive. There isn't a large health freedom movement in Europe the way there is in the USA, and they need our help. If they don't GET our help, WE will end up suffering here...
So look at my evidence closely- ask my questions if you have to- but PLEASE show it to as many health food store owners as you can, and send it to the vitamin companies whose products you use. Do it NOW- or your health freedom will come to an end, not right away, it will take a few years for Codex to go through, but unless you help stop the EU Vitamin directive NOW- you'll be sorry down the road....
Donations must be sent immediately to Ralph Pike, National Association of Health Stores- Ralph A Pike
PO Box 1455 Sheffield South Yorkshire England S7 2YD Tel & Fax - +44 (0)114 249 5345 Tel only - +44 (0)114 236 3043 Mobile - 07866 317760
Information below is excerpted from a letter to Congressman Burton and to the Congressional Research Service in the aftermath of the whitewashed oversight hearing on March 20th. The letter is titled POST HEARING QUESTIONS FOR BURTON AND THE CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE This letter is located at http://www.iahf.com/codex/20010330.html
Here are the main points:
See http://www.harmonizationalert.org/HarmBackgrounder.htm "Both NAFTA and WTO require countries to base their environmental, food safety, public health, and worker safety standards on international standards." (See SPS Agreement, in Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, GATT Doc. MTN/FA (December 15, 1993), 33 I.L. M9 (1944), Art 3.2; and NAFTA, Arts. 713 and 905."
See http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/gmp-insp.html As specified in the FDA Modernization Act of 1997 "FDAMA", the agency "will move toward the acceptence of Mutual Recognition Agreements relating to the regulation of Good Manufacturing Practices between the EU and the USA. Under FDAMA the agency will regularly participate in meetings with representatives of other foreign governments to discuss and reach agreement on methods and approaches to harmonize regulatory requirements." (Pub. L. 105-115 410(c)(2) and (3), 21 U.S.C. 383(c)(2)and (3).
Please go to http://www.fda.gov/ola/1997/319.html to see the speech of Michael A. Friedman, then acting Commissioner of the FDA, made before the Senate Labor Committee on March 17, 1997 (4 years ago). [If this link won't work for any reason, go to http://www.fda.gov/search.html and enter the search terms "Codex Standards, International Harmonization" Then scroll down til you find "Testimony of Michael A. Friedman" which was published in the FDA/CFSAN Federal Register 62 FR 36243 July 7, 1997.
In it Friedman stated: "FDA plans to amend its regulations and procedures for consideration of standards adopted by CODEX. This action is being taken to provide for the systematic review of CODEX STANDARDS in order to enhance consumer protection, promote international harmonization and fulfill the obligations of the United States under international agreements."
(He's referring to the Sanitary Phytosanitary Measures Agreement, (SPS), TBT and other numerous so called "Mutual Recognition Agreements" signed under NAFTA and the WTO by a Congress that never read any of the fine print:
Text of the Sanitary Phytosanitary Measures Agreement http://www.wto.org/wto/english/tratop_e/sps_e/spsagr_e.htm
On the IAHF website I have information that I need your help calling to Kessler and Inglin. It angers me that they are ignoring this information given the effort I have already made to try to wake them up, and I need your help, and you need THEIR help, right NOW!
Go to http://www.iahf.com click on the spinning green disk. There you will find a gif file of a letter on Congressional letterhead signed bipartisanly by congressmen Ron Paul (R-TX) and Peter De Fazio (D-OR). In their letter they state the following: "According to an August 1999 report of the Congressional Research Service, "As a member of the WTO, the United States does have an obligation to commit to act in accordance with the rules of the multilateral body. It [the US] is legally bound to insure national laws do not interfere with WTO rules."
Paul and De Fazio then go on to echo my concern that we're being set up to lose in a WTO trade dispute, which would force us to harmonize or domestic vitamin laws to a very restrictive finalized codex standard.
The FDA is setting us up to lose in this trade dispute by falsely defining vitamin safety. They are falsely defining vitamin safety in the NAS's paper "A Risk Assessment Model for Establishing Safe Upper Levels for Nutrients" The scientific fraudulence of this pharmaceutically funded NAS paper which never underwent a public review period is thoroughly discussed in several papers which can be found on the IAHF website. Richard Malter, PhD wrote a rebuttal which was published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. It is on the IAHF website- see "NAS Paper" and "Rebuttal". Bill Sardi also has a rebuttal, and there is related material in the section of the site with Leibovitz's information.
The way we're being set up is that the NAS paper is the lesser of two evils in the current Codex debate between RDA levels and safety, but that doesn't make it right. The lesser of two evils is STILL evil, and the US is STILL being set up. The NAS refuses to divulge the data used to generate their paper, and they're not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, because they're not part of the government. The authors of the paper all have strong pharmaceutical ties being mostly heads of university nutrition departments which get a huge amount of pharmaceutical grant money.
There was a need for this to be scrutinized through proper oversight, but it never was. The hearing on March 20 was whitewashed, mainly due to the influence of Parry, Romani, DeConcini and Symms http://www.lobbycongress.com You can quickly see that this firm has a preponderance of multinational pharmaceutical clients. There is a highly visible conflict of interest. Although Herbal Life and a few other vitamin companies are also clients, they are the ones that aren't doing a thing to defend consumers in the EU or at CODEX. They don't CARE about consumers, all they care about is having increased marketshare, and they don't care what they can sell, as long as they can expand their market to more countries.
There are many examples on the website of Global Trade Watch http://www.tradewatch.org where American laws have ALREADY been forced to harmonize to international law. Even STATE laws have been forced to be harmonized. See article "Can States Set Foreign Policy?" http://www.citizen.org/trade/issues/burma/articles.cfm?ID=1616 There are PROFOUND sovereignty issues at stake here, and these same issues will occurr if a restrictive vitamin Guideline is finalized at Codex. The FDA has already stated on their website that they intend to harmonize our laws to finalized Codex standards- see the speech of former Acting Commissioner Friedman
HERE IS A SUMMARY OF WHAT HAPPENED AT THE CODEX MEETING IN BERLIN THAT JUST TOOK PLACE AND HOW WE'RE BEING SET UP THIS WRITE UP IS FROM JOSEF HASSLBERGER OF THE ITALIAN HEALTH FREEDOM GROUP LA LEVA DE ARCHIMEDE http://www.laleva.cc
As you probably know, I went to Berlin to participate in the recent meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, as part of the Italian delegation. With me and in the delegation was also Vitale Onorato, president of La Leva di Archimede. Here following is a report (it got a bit longer than I first thought) of my impressions of the meeting.
After a well attended event of Dr. Rath Sunday evening, and with the delegates greeted upon their arrival by a good number of "vitamin freedom" demonstrators, the Codex Commettee meeting started on Monday morning 26 November.
The issue of vitamin and mineral supplements came to be discussed on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Essentially, no agreement was reached and the proposed Codex guideline on vitamin and mineral supplements remains on "step 3" of the Codex approval procedure which has a total of 8 steps. In other words, the proposal is open to further comments from the member states and subject to further discussion at future Committee meetings.
What appears important to us is the great "activism" of the EU Commission's Basil Mathioudakis. It was his proposal which led to a narrowing down of the available options towards a mixture of safety and RDA criteria in determining maximum dosages of supplements. There were also indications that the European Commission intends to try and forcefully advance the EU directive between now and the end of the year.
The consequences for us are clear. Although the Codex guideline seems to be a more long term even though important development, the European directive on supplements must receive urgent attention NOW. The European Commission is aiming for essentially the same restrictive regulation WITHIN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS that we might Codex eventually to arrive at in a few years.
Kind regards Josef
The Rath Conference of 25 November
Dr. Rath and his staff organised an event in Berlin, at the Hotel Intercontinental, on the evening before the Codex Committee meeting. Expected participants were over a thousand persons, however the turnout was larger than expected, the event drew about two thousand participants, most all of them patients of Dr. Rath, who were cured of various ailments by using supplements. All the participants seemed very sincerely thankful to Dr. Rath for having saved their lives or at least made their lives better and livable, and in consequence they were very upset at the prospect of Codex regulations that might hinder their access to these products.
The Rath event was extremely well organised and professionally presented.
Two patients told of their personal success in overcoming illness (extreme headaches, cancer) by the use of supplements on the advice of Dr. Rath.
Scientific studies financed by Dr. Rath were presented that appeared to prove success in overcoming tinnitus and in lowering elevated cholesterol levels.
Dr. Rath told about his work with nobel prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling and their joint discovery of a cure and prevention for cardiovascular disease based on the use of supplements (vitamins and some aminoacids). A collaborator of Dr. Rath - Dr. Niedzwiecki - explained a study that proves efficacy of the aminoacid Lysine in halting the spread of cancer cells through a solution of collagen, simulating in vitro the mechanism of metastasis in cancer. Lysine, added to a solution, was found to be effective in preventing the diffusion of cancer cells through a collagen barrier. Other types of studies are in progress and will be presented when concluded.
After some other talks which pointed to the fact that both the German authorities and Codex are in fact working to limit the availability of higher dosed vitamins and similar products, Rath laid the blame for much suffering and death at the feet of the pharmaceutical industry giants, and exhorted the conference participants to make their wishes known to the authorities and to the representatives of Codex and of their parliaments.
A video of the event will be produced and will be available soon from Matthias Rath B.V. in the Netherlands phone 0031 546 533 320 e-mail email@example.com
Demonstration on 26 November
Some 500 supporters of Dr. Rath gathered on 26 November in the morning in front of the BGVV (the German office for Consumer Health Protection and Veterinary medicine) where the Codex meeting took place, demanding freedom of choice in the use of supplements.
I briefly addressed the gathering as a delegate to the Codex meeting and explained that on that same morning, the Codex Chairman Ralf Grossklaus as well as a German government representative, Gerald Thalheim, who had opened the session, had stressed that the aim of the German authorities and of Codex was "consumer protection". This was greeted with laughter and rejection, given the obvious inconsistency of trying to limit access to vitamins with the aim of protecting the consumer. I also informed the gathering, that apparently the German authorities had changed their position to accepting "scientific safety assessment" as an acceptable criterium for determining the allowed dosages of vitamins, that consumer pressure must continue as it does have at least some positive effect.
The Codex Committee meeting
Point four on the agenda was the proposed Codex guidelines for vitamin and mineral supplements. The discussion was marked by profound differences in opinion between countries that have industries producing supplements, and countries at the "receiving end", mainly southern and eastern European countries, and developing nations in Asia, Africa and South and Central America.
The Preamble to the proposed Codex guidelines limits supplements to a role of merely "filling up" our intake of vitamins to reach that minimum level which we normally get with our food. The US proposed to eliminate the preamble and was supported by South Africa in this, but after opposition from Malaysia, Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand and India, the decision was made that the preamble would merely be moved, that is, the text it contains would be included in later sections of the guidelines. Comment from Chairman Grossklaus: "Food supplements are foods. Of course high dosed vitamins are medicines, but here at Codex we are only talking about supplements."
The Scope of the proposed Codex guidelines contains a provision that leaves it open to each country to consider supplements as medicines, and this provision was retained. The guidelines will not apply in countries that consider supplements to be medicines. It was also pointed out by the EU and by IADSA, (International Alliance of Dietary Supplements Associations) that many supplements contain other ingredients besides vitamins and minerals, and that the guideline could be interpreted to mean that combination products are not allowed, or that they fall outside the scope of the guideline. No agreement could be reached on this, that is, no mention of other ingredients was included in the text.
The Composition of vitamin and mineral supplements was the most contentious issue. The selection of admissible ingredients is potentially very limiting, with the Chairman expressing preference for admitting only such vitamins and minerals that have been shown as "indispensable to life". It was proposed (and accepted) that only those vitamin and mineral sources as recognized by FAO and the WHO should be allowed. This drew criticism from some countries (Nigeria, Tanzania, India) complaining that their traditional systems, for example Ayurveda which is based on plants and herbs, would be excluded as sources of vitamins and minerals in supplements. The EU proposed to make a list of nutrient sources, similar to what the EU directive proposes. France opposed this and the matter was dropped, no decision was taken as to whether it was necessary to make a list of allowed ingredients.
Minimum levels of dosage of any vitamin and mineral are required per the Codex proposal. The percentage so far considered was 15% of the RDA. IADSA and Ireland supported that percentage. The USA proposed to leave it to the consumer reading a label to decide whether what they got was enough. This did not find support from other delegations. In the end, there was a split between who wishes a minimum dose of 15 and who prefers a minimum dosage of 33%. Both options were kept open for further discussion. The reason behind requiring a minimum percentage of the RDA for every ingredient is, as explained by the chairman, if a product contained less than a certain amount of a nutrient, it would be fraudulent to sell it with a label that mentions the name of that nutrient. It would not be, in other words, an effective source for that nutrient.
Maximum levels of dosage were the most contentious issue. The Committee was polarized into two opposing camps. South Africa, supported by the US, France and (halfheartedly) by Italy stated that maximal dosages should be based on assessment of safety by scientific methods. The US added to this, that a set of general principles should be agreed to understand how such decisions are to be made. On the other hand, a good number of countries proposed to base maximum levels of dosage on the level of RDAs, that is, 100% of the RDA.
A compromise proposal of the European Union which nominally is an observer, but which has the ear of the Chairman as much as or more than many countries, was to base maximum allowed amounts of vitamins and minerals on three criteria:
- upper safe levels as determined by scientific risk assessment
- intake of vitamins from other dietary sources
- due account should also be taken of RDAs when setting maximum allowed levels.
Although this EU proposal did not get much support despite being repeated twice at the request of the Chairman, the Chair decided to replace a previous formulation (upper levels to be based on science-based risk assessment) with the compromise formulation as proposed by the EU, so the currently discussed options are two: Either RDA levels or the "watered down" safety approach as proposed by the EU.
After this, the Chairman of the Committee declared that discussion on the supplements guideline was finished, that the guideline would remain at step 3 of the procedure for further comments, as no world wide consensus could be reached at this moment. No further discussion was allowed on the remaining provisions of the proposal.
Evaluation of what happened
Why the polarization? The answer to this was provided at the following point of discussion, which was the proposal for an amendment of the Codex Standard for baby foods. The discussions on this proposal showed a clear polarization of the Committee into two camps: The western (industrialized) nations who favour selling these products without restrictions world wide, and the third world nations who are, as pointed out before, at the receiving end of the benefits those products and their advertising bring with them. The feeling of the third world countries is clearly one of resentment. In fact, baby foods and their indiscriminate distribution seem to have side effects. For one, the immune system of babies brought up on baby foods is not as strong as in those infants that receive mother milk. Also, there seem added trouble deriving from baby foods prepared with local water that is not hygienic, leading to an increased incidence of diarrhea and other potentially deadly complications. On the other hand, traditional systems of medicine of Africa and Asia, as well as South America, based on herbs and other plants are rejected by the western nations, so the Third world sees our insistence on "selling them" baby foods and vitamin supplements as a one-way imposition that must be opposed. Frankly, I cannot blame them for their stand, as much as I am personally convinced that supplements are extremely useful in health and prevention.
Safety based choices are eroding one could say, considering the move of Chairman Grossklaus to actually substitute a previous safety clause with the "watered down" version proposed by Basil Mathioudakis, the representative of the European Union. So the discussions in Codex could be said to be "inching away from safety" towards a compromise that - as usual - will leave everyone dissatisfied. The EU of course is a great master of "creeping compromise", a technique used extensively in Europe, where many different cultures and traditions are being "brought together" in a social experiment of vast proportions, which will lead straight to centralized control over weakened nation-states and essentially powerless citizens.
Do we need a global standard? The question comes to mind, whether a single global standard for health products is indeed necessary. Does the facilitation of international trade really justify taking away freedom from some and imposing products on others, only for the purpose of having an "open market" for multinational companies? Clearly if a Codex guideline does emerge, some countries such as the US, England, New Zealand, Holland and others may have to impose restrictions on their consumers or face a "double standard" whereby products for export are formulated differently from products for the domestic market. Consumers in many other countries may then find it difficult to obtain products which today are imported from one of the more liberal markets. With a Codex guideline in place, international commerce in products that are not within the narrow "compromise parameters" will practically become impossible, except between the countries that anyway have a more liberal view and allow consumer choice.
The European Union seems set to forge ahead with renewed vigor to make it's own "compromise standard" as proposed in a directive for food supplements drafted by the same Commission services that are represented in Codex by Basil Mathioudakis. A Commission proposal for a directive was commented on by the European Parliament, then slightly amended and put before the representatives of the member states for discussion. The member states agreed on a compromise which, as usual, leaves many unsatisfied but is "the best we can expect under the current circumstances". This proposal will now go to the European Parliament again and is slated to be approved soon, unless consumers and practitioners and a good part of industry (not the multinationals but the small and medium sized producers) wake up and oppose these plans to put commerce before health, trade before personal freedom of choice. Ultimately, the directive to be adopted by the European Union will have great weight in moving Codex to go in a similar direction.
WHILE THE CODEX DELIBERATIONS SEEM SLOWED BY IDEOLOGICAL DIVISION, OUR ATTENTION MUST NOW URGENTLY TURN TO THE EUROPEAN PROPOSAL FOR A DIRECTIVE ON FOOD SUPPLEMENTS. COMPROMISE WILL ELIMINATE OR SEVERELY LIMIT PERSONAL FREEDOM OF CHOICE AND THE EFFICACY OF SUPPLEMENTS IN PREVENTION, IF WE ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN.
John C. Hammell, President
International Advocates for Health Freedom
POB 625 Floyd VA 24091