Naturally Rockford: Guest Column: Codex is not the issue

The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) was established in 1963[1] by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in cooperation with the World Health Organization Joint Food Standards Program to develop international food standards to enhance consumer protection and ensure fair trade practices internationally.[2] It also serves in committee to explore and develop guidelines governing vitamin and mineral supplements, food labeling and food additives.[3] These guidelines are being developed as part of a series in association with the World Trade Organization Agreement (GATT).[4] The term Codex Alimentarius is Latin for “a code of laws governing foods,” i.e., a “nutrition code.”

In 1994, the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), the principal non-profit trade organization (lobby) of the natural products industry, played a key role in passing the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)[5] ensuring public access to safe dietary supplements, truthful labeling, factual structure/function claims, third party nutritional literature and enhanced FDA ability to regulate these products. NNFA is also recognized as a charter non-governmental organization (NGO) member of the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement association recognized by CAC.[6]

Many consumers are concerned as to whether CAC will negatively impact the potency and access of dietary supplements here, as the U.S. is party to Codex, being a cosigner to GATT. The answer is no, because the federal statute by which the U.S. ratified the World Trade Organization agreement (the Uruguay Round Agreements Act or “URAA”) states: “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 effect.”[7] And suggestions NNFA is conspiratorially involved with pharmaceutical companies by supporting CAC are unfounded, because NNFA has always fought to insure CAC complies with DSHEA.[8] Codex is not the issue.

But others question if the “European Directive,” (ED) relating to food supplements adopted by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union (EU) could affect U.S. products. Again, the answer is no, for two reasons: 1) ED only applies to member countries of the EU, and 2) it is not part of CAC. Americans should not be concerned, because ED cannot affect U.S. domestic policy, only the export of American products to those nations. As long as NNFA enforces DSHEA standards to the US Codex Office, and Americans inform their elected officials to continue doing so, DSHEA will remain law.[9]

To secure these “safeguards,” this reporter contacted Senator’s Obama and Durbin and Congressman Manzullo to determine their positions if DSHEA were to be challenged by CAC. This is what they said.

Congressman Manzullo would support DSHEA as American law. Senator Obama, at present, has not taken a position on this issue, and Senator Durbin said he would uphold DSHEA, but believes several key areas of the law should be changed. Concerned Americans should advise their officials of their desires, to preserve them in law. DSHEA serves American health freedom well and deserves your support.

(The author has spent 15 years in the natural health industry as employee, manager and owner, as well as writing and lecturing on personal health and political freedom. He is currently publishing his first book on the moral basis of a democracy. This article is the first in a series titled: The Politics of Health.)

[1] The Dr. Rath Health Foundation, “The Health Movement against “Codex Alimentarius,” © 2003 by Dr. Rath Health Foundation | www.dr-rath-foundation.org http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/PHARMACEUTICAL_BUSINESS/health_movement_against_codex/

[2] Position Paper, National Nutritional Foods Association, “What is Codex?,” nnfa@nnfa.org , www.nnfa.org http://www.nnfa.org/services/government/codex.htm

[3] Welcome to NNFA—Products and Services Information Services, Government Relations, International Natural Products Regulations Q&A: “What Affect do They Really Have on the U.S.?,” “What is Codex’s role in the regulation of dietary supplements?,” by Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP, NNFA General Counsel, © 2001, National Nutritional Foods Association.

http://www.nnfa.org/services/government/EUdir_Codex_QA.htm

[4] Ibid.

[5] “Facts About NNFA,” nnfa@nnfa.org, http://www.nnfa.org/facts/index.htm#NNFA

[6] Position Paper, National Nutritional Foods Association, “How does NNFA participate in Codex?” nnfa@nnfa.org, http://www.nnfa.org/services/government/codex.htm

[7] Welcome to NNF—Products and Services Information Services, Government Relations, International Natural Products Regulations Q&A: “What Affect do They Really Have on the U.S.?,” “What is Codex’s role in the regulation of dietary supplements?,” “Would Codex change the availability of dietary supplements in the United States?,” (19 U.S.C. & 3512(a)(1)), by Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP, NNFA General Counsel, © 2001, National Nutritional Foods Association.

http://www.nnfa.org/services/government/EUdir_Codex_QA.htm

[8] Ibid, “Is NNFA violating any conflict of interest bylaw by its activities at Codex?,” http://www.nnfa.org/services/government/EUdir_Codex_QA.htm

[9] Ibid, “I read the EU directive is part of a larger regulation known as Codex. Is that true?”, “Would Codex change the availability of dietary supplements in the United States?” & “Does the United States have any say about what is passed by Codex or the EU?,” http://www.nnfa.org/services/government/EUdir_Codex_QA.htm

From the May 11-17, 2005, issue

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