The Codex Guideline on Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements

In 2005, the Codex nutrition committee approved a highly restrictive guideline on vitamin and mineral supplements that very closely parallels the European Food Supplements Directive, in spite of significant opposition from various countries including South Africa, China, India, and representatives from many countries' health freedom organizations. An important point worth remembering is that there is only one health freedom organisation with official status (‘observer status’) at Codex; it’s the US-based, National Health Federation (NHF). The NHF was established in 1955 and is the longest standing health freedom organisation in the world. The organisation, under the leadership of lawyer Scott Tips, was successful in its application for observer status at Codex in 2002. Every health freedom organization that has applied since has been rejected.

With no effort to disguise the Codex guideline’s origins, it boldly shares whole tracts of text with the European Directive.  In fact, concern was even expressed by the World Health Organisation. Countries that had indicated concern have all been reassured that following Codex guidelines within national laws is voluntary and, should any country disagree with the guideline on vitamin and mineral food supplements, that country will be perfectly free to implement its own laws that are out of step with Codex. Many commentators close to Codex, such as Dr Robert Verkerk, executive and scientific director of the ANH, say this is a clever trick to get countries to tow the party line of Codex. Verkerk says, “They are never told about the consequences of not dancing to the Codex tango. You are then at the hands of Codex’s international policeman, the World Trade Organization. And that can be seriously bad news unless you’ve got some magical way of handling huge fines and trade sanctions.”

Who can afford to not dance the Codex tango?

Ironically, it’s European countries that should know better than anyone else the cost of not dancing to the tune of Codex! They’ve been wearing annual fines of $117 million to the USA and around $11 million to Canada because Europe has refused to import beef and dairy products derived from cattle fed genetically engineered (recombinant) bovine growth hormone (rbGH). In short, Codex—very controversially—says that rbGH-containing meat is safe, so any country that poses a barrier to trade suffers at the hands of the WTO, which in this case, has imposed fines to the two countries, the USA and Canada, who are unable to export to Europe. Bear in mind, these are not one off fines. The fines are annual and will continue relentlessly until the obstructive country decides to abide by the rules overseen by the WTO.

While this might be okay if you’re a superpower like Europe, where you’re collecting taxes from nearly 500 million people, it’s a non-starter for smaller countries wanting to be conscientious objectors to the Codex steamroller. Now you’ll understand why you’ll continue to see a very standard language put out by regulators around the world to help stop us—the consumer and members of the general public—protesting against Codex. We’re told repeatedly: “Why are you worrying about Codex, it’s a voluntary system. While we, your government, may have to comply with Codex for exports, we wouldn’t dream of imposing Codex within our national territories.” The problem, however, is as Codex and government authorities carry on pushing the line that these restrictions have been proposed because of internationally agreed scientific opinion—albeit a highly flawed opinion—there will be increasing pressure to apply Codex restrictions for in-country use as well as exports, thereby banishing the two-tier system the USA is presently advocating.

Coming back to the rbGH issue, there’s plenty of suggestions that Europe is no longer prepared to remain out of step. It can barely afford to, it says. The European Commission, amidst the deeply misinformed reframing campaign suggesting that GM is needed to feed the world’s population being run by world governments and a clutch of biotechnology companies led by Monsanto, is gearing up to drop its 8-year-long moratorium against GM cultivation. It’s bought into the misinformation, wittingly or unwittingly, and unless we—the people—oppose it, the international trade in low nutrition foods and supplements, as well as GM foods, is set in the coming years to become the norm.  

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