Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta
December 02, 2004

CODEX Vitamin Restriction Deadline????

Hi Chris,

First I would like to thank you for your work in trying to make this Codex issue public knowledge. I have found many interesting articles on your website.

Since bring the Codex issue to their attention, I have been asked by the AEHA of Ottawa to write up a quick blurb on the effects this legislation will have on Canadians and when it will happen if it goes through. I have discovered that there is lots of info on how it will affect us but the timeline is not clear. After checking your website I am even more confused!

You have an article entitled "July 1, 2005: The Day CODEX Will Protect You From High-Dose Dietary Supplements?" which implies in the title that July 1,2005 will be our D day. Yet in the first paragraph the author states that "About 18 months from now the dreaded CODEX rules will go into force" and it is dated 11/8/2004 which implies that the legislation would not be enacted until May or June 2006.

Which is it? Can you clarify please?

Bonita Poulin

From: Chris Gupta
Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 2:06 PM
To: Bonita Poulin
Cc: Josef Hasslberger; Paul Taylor; Peter Helgason
Subject: Re: Codex vitamin restriction deadline????

Thanks Bonita, for your kind words, I have cc'd this to a number of experts on the CODEX issue to respond to your query. My understanding is that the effective date at first will be for the EU only, but as time passes and through the WTO most countries if not all will have to abide by these standards.

Chris Gupta

From: Peter Helgason
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 15:23:59 -0800
To: Chris Gupta, Bonita Poulin
Cc: Josef Hasslberger Paul Taylor
Subject: RE: Codex vitamin restriction deadline????

Hi Chris, it looks like we may have our lawyer look into the codex rules to find out what is going on. Curious that there seem to be no straight answers to what is a very basic question. Informed speculation has it they have overstepped their procedural authority in their rush to step 8 and are now trying to figure out how to obfuscate and shuffle things along anyway. In an exercise where reality takes a back seat to process, knowing all the rules is a good place to start.



Ps hello to Paul and Sepp
Hi all

The simple answer to Bonita's question is that there hasn't been a date set for when the Codex guidelines will come into force in any country, let alone Canada, and nor will there be. The reason for this is simply that the Codex text is merely a guideline, not a piece of legislation. As such therefore it has to be enacted into national law in order for it to be enforced in a country. In other words, unless and until the Canadian government passes legislation to enforce the new Codex guidelines my understanding is that they will generally not affect Canadians directly.

However, whilst it may be technically true for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to say that there is no legal obligation on WTO Members to apply Codex standards, guidelines and recommendations, the reality is that Codex texts are used by the WTO as a means of resolving international trade disputes, and WTO Members are legally obliged to abide by WTO rulings. As such, if Canada, or any other country, became involved in an international trade dispute the WTO Dispute Settlement Body has the ability to force it to comply with the Codex guidelines.

Moreover, even when a country decides not to use a Codex standard the measure that it operates in place of that Codex standard remains subject to a range of conditions set out in detail in Article 5 of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement). . The most important of these conditions is a requirement to take into account risk assessment techniques developed by "the relevant international organizations”. These relevant organizations include both Codex itself, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO).

Given therefore that the FAO and WHO are currently engaged in a project to define a "scientifically-based” and "internationally applicable” approach for nutrient risk assessment, it Is clear that once this has been completed and the maximum levels for the Codex guidelines have been set the implementation of the guidelines effectively becomes mandatory.

Nevertheless, it is also important to realise that if and when the Canadian government does attempt to pass such legislation it would not be called Codex', and nor would the Codex guidelines probably even be referred to publicly. In the European Union, for example, we already have our own form of the Codex guidelines, which are called the Food Supplements Directive (FSD). Indeed, it is precisely because of the voting strength of the EU-block at Codex that the guidelines now so closely resemble sections of the FSD.

Further useful information on the legal aspects of Codex can be found in the recent excellent article by Suzanne Harris JD from the Law Loft here

Hope this helps.

Kind regards



posted by Chris Gupta on Thursday December 2 2004
updated on Saturday September 24 2005

URL of this article:



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