Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta
July 01, 2005

The Growing Threats to DSHEA

...."The net result of this is that once the Codex Guidelines on Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements are adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, any WTO member country producing vitamin and mineral supplements that conform to these new global standards could theoretically file a complaint with the WTO whenever another member country refused to allow their goods to be imported and sold within its borders. In the process of resolving such a dispute, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body would refer to the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements, and would find in favour of the country that was acting in conformity with them.

The losing country could then be forced to adopt whatever requirements the WTO Dispute Settlement Body decide upon, which can include changing its domestic laws. If a country failed to adopt these requirements however it can then become subject to punitive economic sanctions. (35).

As such there now exists a very real risk that Codex restrictions upon the manufacture and sale of vitamin and mineral supplements could, in the future, be quite literally forced upon the United States via the WTO...

....Let us hope then that an overall sense of unity will soon prevail amongst the American health freedom movement. The passing of DSHEA was a milestone in the history of health freedom, but health conscious Americans will henceforth need to be increasingly vigilant in order to ensure that their hard-won victory was not in vain."

Paul Taylors excellent and important article on DSHEA, and it's relationship to Codex, is a must read. It helps in understanding the current machinations regarding the movement to regulate nutriments.

This is a good follow up on "Make DSHEA The International Standard For Dietary Supplement Trade".

Chris Gupta

See also:

Where CODEX Is Going - A Tool to Squelch Completion

The Growing Threats to DSHEA

The passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in the United States in 1994 was arguably the single most important legislative development in the history of health freedom. (1). Since 1994, interest in natural healthcare therapies has grown dramatically in the United States, to the point where it is now estimated that 70 percent of the US population use dietary supplements at least occasionally, and 40 percent use them on a regular basis. (2). Nevertheless, and as this article will demonstrate, there are now numerous threats to DSHEA from a wide variety of sources.

Can supplements be banned under DSHEA?

Under DSHEA, the FDA has the power to seize any dietary supplement that it considers poses an "unreasonable or significant risk of illness or injury." (3). Given therefore that what constitutes an "unreasonable or significant risk of illness or injury" is not actually defined in DSHEA it can easily be seen that this phrase is potentially open to a wide variety of different interpretations.

Moreover, DSHEA also allows the FDA to prescribe, via the issuing of regulations, good manufacturing practices for dietary supplements, and to remove from the market any dietary supplements that it considers do not meet these. (4). In this respect it should be noted that on March 7, 2003 the FDA issued a proposed rule, " Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Dietary Ingredients and Dietary Supplements” (5) , the "standards” outlined in which are so severe as to actually exceed those imposed upon the pharmaceutical industry. Were these proposals to be passed into law then many smaller companies could potentially find the requirements to be so prohibitively expensive that they may be forced to cease business.

Clearly therefore the FDA already has more power under DSHEA than is commonly realized. Moreover, all it needs in order to wield this power is sufficient excuse. Indeed, and as we shall examine next, this ‘excuse' may shortly be about to present itself, in the form of the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is the international body charged with setting global food standards, and is jointly sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Codex Alimentarius literally means "food code", and the Commission was established in 1963 following resolutions passed at the Eleventh Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1961, and at the Sixteenth World Health Assembly in 1963. (6).

The legal basis for enforcement of the food standards and guidelines created by Codex comes from the ‘Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures' (SPS Agreement) (7) and the ‘Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade' (TBT Agreement). (8). Both the SPS Agreement and the TBT Agreement were included among the Multilateral Agreements on Trade in Goods, which was annexed to the 1994 Marrakech Agreement that established the World Trade Organization (WTO). (9). Although Codex standards and guidelines are theoretically voluntary, the WTO uses them as a means of resolving international trade disputes (10), and WTO Members are legally obliged to abide by WTO rulings. (11).

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posted by Chris Gupta on Friday July 1 2005
updated on Saturday September 24 2005

URL of this article:



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