I’m sad to report, despite some superficial changes and the last-minute efforts of some consumer groups, global standards for vitamin and mineral supplements — debated for more than a decade — were unfortunately adopted as expected by the Codex Alimentarius in Rome yesterday (download them at this link).
Even worse, these guidelines will now serve as a model for many countries that do not currently have supplement regulations in place and may be used under World Trade Organization agreements to force countries to allow the importation and sale of products that conform to those guidelines. The effect of these new rules is very bad news to Americans and many other people, considering some 60 countries — including more than half of the world’s population — are currently looking at introducing new or amended regulations for vitamin and mineral supplements.
Of the greatest concern in these new guidelines is a new ceiling on the maximum level of vitamins or minerals based on a scientific risk assessment rather than recommended dietary intake, better known as RDA, that result in significantly lower amounts than those based on risk assessment. Opponents of these measures strongly believe these guidelines will force vitamins and minerals offered in higher dosages to be classified and regulated as drugs.
Dr. Robert Verkerk, executive director of the Alliance for Natural Health, really nailed my objections to Codex: It appears that the Codex guidelines for food supplements include faulty procedures that contradict Codex’s own rules, as pointed out by the U.S.-based National Health Federation, itself a Codex participant. We have also demonstrated that the risk assessment system being considered by Codex is scientifically flawed…
Of course, you know there was one group who was extremely happy about the passage of these regulations: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a Washington, D.C.-based trade association/lobbying group representing dietary supplement industry ingredient suppliers and manufacturers.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is expected to produce a report in a few months on its risk assessment methodology, but it will be several years before this is adopted. That could very well mean there’s still some time to have Codex reconsider these measures. And, besides, do you want to let foreign interests dictate what you can do with your body?
And, if you’re not sure why people like me are gravely concerned about this issue and want to get your blood boiling even more, you’ll want to watch the documentary “We Become” Silent,” produced by International award-winning filmmaker, Kevin P. Miller in an attempt to raise public awareness about these misinformed guidelines.
I believe Americans must never lose the right to choose and buy supplements. If you agree with this – and if you read my eHealthy news You Can Use newsletter regularly I’m sure you do — I urge you to take a little time to let Congress know how you feel, by sending the letter provided by the Health Action Center.