Codex: FDA 'Vetoes' Optimal Nutrition For Health
Just a month ago today, at the Codex Alimentarius Food Labelling Committee meeting in Ottawa, Canada, the US delegate Dr Barbara Schneeman said that no reference should be made to "optimizing nutrition and health" in guidelines that would encourage "adequate information" on food labels.
A Codex Committee meeting - Image by Sepp
The Committee was discussing how the World Health Organization's Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health should find expression in the information we find on the labels of foods bought in supermarkets and - increasingly - at organic food shops. A laudable step, to improve our health by telling more on food labels, but alas, the food industry is not keen to put that information where we can actually see it.
Dr Schneeman and her employer, the FDA, were looking after the interests of Big Food and its cousin Big Pharma, when they insisted that optimal nutrition should have no place on food labels or - as transpired later in the same meeting - that even when a food has been genetically modified, such information should not be revealed to consumers.
The labeling of trans fats in foods was also on the committee's agenda, but for some unfathomable reason the committee could not agree on what would be the proper definition of trans fats.
For details of what transpired in the meeting, see the report of Scott Tips of the Natural Health Federation, the only consumer oriented body allowed to speak in these meetings of Codex on food-related issues.
- - -
Codex Alimentarius has a history of dancing to the tune of big industry. The interests of Big Pharma and the AgroFood conglomerates are at the top of the agenda. The recently passed guidelines on food supplements are a step towards limiting that nuisance called optimal nutrition by cutting down available nutrients and dosages to the minimal levels beyond which we normally just lay down and die. So nutrition yes, but not too much!
That seems to also be the view of the German Codex Nutrition Committee Chair Rolf Grossklaus, who, as head of the German Institute for Risk Evaluation, signed off on a report that proposes to limit availability of vitamins and minerals in supplements to what most nutritional health advocates would consider starvation-level dosages. Grossklaus has also famously said in one of the Codex Nutrition Committee meetings that Codex "deals with foods and foods have nothing to do with illness", agreeing with the European Union representative Basil Mathioudakis that illness is best left to medicine to deal with.
That is exactly the attitude - "we don't need prevention by nutrition" - which resulted in nutrition-related chronic diseases becoming such a huge problem globally, that the World Health Organization had to formulate a strategy on diet, physical activity and health. But in these meetings, we see that very strategy being sabotaged in its implementation by countries - in this case the US through their FDA representative - insisting that optimal health has "nothing to do with nutrition"!
Clearly we need some changes in these international committees that are supposed to decide on matters of health. Conflict of interest is certainly at the bottom of this bias towards big pharma and the agro food conglomerates, and perhaps it is time to screen members of these international committees for personal conflicts of interest, as well as increase the distance they are to keep from industry.
If the choice is 'healthy' industry and sick people vs. 'sick' industry and healthy people, I don't think that ultimately many of us would prefer industry profits over our own health. So please someone tell these employees of ours who they are supposed to be working for.
- - -
CODEX: WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU AND YOUR HEALTH?
Codex is not just about nutritional supplements. In fact, it is the primary political battlefield where the war is being waged about who will regulate and control the global food supply from farm to fork. This 'war' is being waged by an increasingly tangled web of global authorities, big business and financial interests, and, as such, trade and profit are its prime goals – not human health.
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Sunday June 4 2006
updated on Monday October 30 2006
URL of this article:
Meet Codex Alimentarius
Codex Alimentarius - an international body that sets standards for foods - is deliberating uniform world wide rules for vitamin and mineral supplements. The Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, to some known by its acronym CCNFSDU, will be meeting once again this year. The gathering will take place in Bonn, Germany, and it will try to achieve the needed "consensus" for the vitamin rule to... [read more]
August 30, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger
Codex Alimentarius - Optimizing Nutrient Intakes
During the annual meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Nutrition and Foods For Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) in November 2003, a decision was made to establish an electronic working group to set new nutrient reference values for the labelling of food products. Work on this is proceeding and indeed, the National Health Federation (NHF) has recently made a well documented proposal for optimized nutrient reference values that would -... [read more]
April 20, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger
Codex: Labelling Committee Asked to Allow Information on Food Preventive Effects
The Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Labelling in its recent meeting in Montreal, Canada, heard a proposal of the Republic of South Africa, to re-think its rules which prohibit food manufacturers saying or implying that a food may aid in the prevention or cure of a disease. Although various foods clearly do prevent and even cure diseases, any claims for such effects are strictly limited to pharmaceutical products registered as... [read more]
May 25, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger
Codex 2003 - Grossklaus and Mathioudakis: Nutrition not relevant to Health
November 3-7, 2003, the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for special dietary uses met in BONN, Germany, for their once-yearly come-together. On the agenda for discussion were, before baby foods and the description of healthy properties of food on labels, the proposed Codex Giudelines for "Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements". Such guidelines would be, once passed, the equivalent of international law to be followed in all commerce of vitamin... [read more]
November 25, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger
Codex: WHO/FAO Told Nutrient Risk Assessment Must Consider Benefits
In a submission to the FAO/WHO nutrient risk assessment project, Dr. Robert Verkerk, Director of the Alliance for Natural Health charges that assessment of the possible risks of nutrient overdose must also consider the beneficial effects of nutrients. He says that risk assessments undertaken to date "are not based on a sufficiently rational scientific platform" and "will provide misleading information for policy decision-makers". At stake is the continued availability of... [read more]
December 16, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger
Supplement Regulation: Who's Behind It, and Why Should You Oppose It?
Health columnist Brian Vaszily just posted an excellent article on the major health site of Dr. Joseph Mercola: "Supplement Regulation: Who's Behind It, and Why Should You Oppose It?" Vaszily explains in easy terms and with clear intention what the real agenda is behind the current drive to "regulate supplements" while often deadly pharmaceutical drugs go scott free. I added some comments - not to criticize but to confirm, from... [read more]
July 19, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger