Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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November 08, 2006

Codex Alimentarius Meets In Thailand: Industry More Important Than Consumer Health

The Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses met in Thailand in the week ending on 3 November2006. As has routinely been the case in past meetings in Germany, big food and big pharma were given the red carpet, while consumer interests came in a very distant third.

The National Health Federation (NHF), which despite its name is an international consumer-oriented non governmental organization accredited with Codex, reports on the meeting under the headline: Codex Puts Industry Interests Before Consumers - Again!

The NHF delegation at Chiang Mai was led by Ingrid Franzon from Sweden. Also on the NHF's delegation were Dr Wong Ang Peng from Malaysia and Dr Robert Verkerk, from the UK.


From left: Dr. Wong Ang Peng, Ingrid Franzon, Dr. Robert Verkerk

The NHF team stimulated some two hours of discussion following its intervention over the need to stipulate more detailed specifications for 'safe water' to which infant formula is added. Safe water is a concept not well understood by many parents who use infant formula, and contamination continues to result in millions of cases of infant death and sickness annually. Interestingly, the Chairman attempted to shut down the discussion following the NHF intervention by saying, 'Safe, more safe, most safe, what is the difference?' but fortunately the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations (IACFO) and other INGOs, who were also more concerned with consumer interests, fought hard to reach a compromise on wording in the face of strong opposition from national delegations, who, seemingly, primarily voiced the views of industry.

In an apparent attempt to head off criticism and to allow the restrictive European regulations to take foot before advancing international discussions, the controversial issues of food supplements and health related information on foods were - again, as in previous years - put late on the agenda and given little time for consideration.

Free trade is being increasingly used to bypass national legislation on the way to globalization of our food supply. With Canada, Mexico and the US being fused into a huge free trade zone, this trend, which started with Europe, is being accentuated. Here is the NHF's take how this may influence the relatively liberal situation for healthy foods in the US:

...the outcome of this meeting underscores yet again the importance of all freedom loving individuals, especially Americans, of opposing the creation of so-called "free trade areas" and regional blocs, such as the proposed North American Union.

The recent evidence of the European Union project, for example, shows us that the creation of "free trade areas" and regional blocs is merely a prelude to the dismantling of the political and legal systems of participating nations, and the replacing of these with a hemispheric government. As such, the passing of the European Union's highly restrictive and Codex-compliant Food Supplements Directive, in 2002, should serve as a warning to Americans as to what could happen if we allow Congress to abandon the United States of America as an independent country. Just as the relatively liberal dietary supplement laws of the UK were overridden by the Codex-compliant EU Food Supplements Directive (as a result of successive treaties that the British Government had signed with its European neighbors), participation in the North American Union could similarly lead to U.S. dietary supplement law (i.e. DSHEA) becoming susceptible to Codex-compliant harmonization with the more restrictive dietary supplement laws of Canada and Mexico.

One member of the NHF's delegation, Dr. Wong Ang Peng, who is President of the Society of Natural Health in Malaysia and Coordinator for South East Asia of the Dr. Rath Health Foundation, describes his impressions from the meeting:

- - -

7th November 2006


One would expect Codex to formulate policies and guidelines for foods and nutritional matters so that consumers can improve their health and be protected from any possible adverse health effects. The truth, however, is actually shocking.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is a body established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to develop global standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations for food products, including food supplements.

The Commission currently presides over a total of 26 subsidiary committees, one of which, the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU), is responsible for developing standards, guidelines or related texts for foods such as food supplements, infant formula, cereal-based foods for infants and young children, and gluten-free foods.

The 28th Session of CCNFSDU was held from 30th October to 3rd November, 2006, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and was attended by 254 delegates from 45 countries and 27 International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs).


For a first time attendee, the meticulous debates regarding labeling requirements, the types of nutrients allowed and their maximum and minimum amounts could initially give the impression that the committee exists to ensure that consumers' interests are being protected; especially so given that this is actually stated as being one of the Commission's primary purposes. The truth begins to be unmasked, however, when one learns that since the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), on 1st January, 1995, Codex standards have been used as the benchmark in international trade disputes, and are expected to be used increasingly in this regard.

As its name suggests, the WTO is concerned with trade, not health, and as such it is the demands of industry, not those of consumers, that are given the highest priority at Codex. At Codex Sessions, therefore, one begins to discern the line drawn between exporting and importing nations; developed and developing nations; between nations that want to perpetuate control of trade and nations that want genuinely free trade; between industrial interests and consumers' interests; between the needs of geographical regions and their individual countries; and between genuine health promotion and disease maintenance. Rather shocking and unbelievable as all this may sound, let's analyze some of the issues.

One major issue, if not the most important, is the subject of food supplements. The first half of this decade saw some keen debates from opposing sides that culminated in 2005 in a global Codex guideline on vitamin and mineral supplements: a text that will ultimately set restrictive upper limits on the maximum permitted doses of nutrients, and strictly enforced curbs on nutrient-related health claims and labeling information. The guideline also seemingly tries to convey the message to consumers that nothing good can come from taking food supplements; that they are a waste of money; and that daily helpings of fruits and vegetables provide enough nutrients for all of our needs.

The official tone and sentiment of Codex regarding food supplements can perhaps best be reflected by the remarks made by the CCNFSDU's Chairman, Dr Rolf Grossklaus, in Chiang Mai, that "Dietary Fibers have specific health benefits, but not isolated nutrients and individual vitamins which are not proven, and therefore we should consume daily certain amounts of fruits and vegetables."

Current science, particularly over the last ten years, has provided compelling arguments, and even proof, regarding the positive significance of individual nutrients or combinations of nutrients. Today's emerging science will ultimately put any of the old arguments, such as "supplements are a waste of money"; "taking vitamin C will produce expensive urine"; "too much vitamin C will produce kidney stones" or "vitamin E increases the rate of heart attacks", into the Jurassic Park of nutritional science. Indeed, it is already virtually impossible for any government officials or any unbiased scientists to have entirely missed the numerous scientific reports on nutrients that are published in the scientific literature.

However, the answers to the following questions cast light onto why so much scientific confusion still exists today regarding nutrition:

Who benefits from the propagation of diseases?

Which industry is most threatened by the food supplement industry's promotion of health?

Which industry is a major sponsor to governments and politicians?

Who finances/sponsors medical researchers, provides grants to medical schools and universities?

Answer: the pharmaceutical industry and its 'business with disease'.

At first sight, however, the case of infant formula seems to take a different stance. Since infants and young children do not provide a good market place for the drugs industry, as compared to adults, and because the multinational corporations dominate in producing infant formulas, the outcomes of Codex deliberations affecting them seem to be less restrictive. Nutrients from A to Z are allowed, including synthetic ones. Even the European Community (EC), USA, Germany and some European countries were less willing to argue against health claims for infant formula, as they had done with full vigour against food supplements in previous Sessions. These are the major exporting countries of pharmaceutical drugs, infant formulas, cereals and pre-packaged food. These are also the countries where money speaks, and where industry lobbying is the name of the game.

When the issue of fluoride came up for deliberation, South Africa led the dissenting voice among developing countries and INGOs and argued that current science has shown fluoride to be a poison, detrimental to health, and that it should be reclassified onto the list of food contaminants. As the dissenting voices against the use of fluoride became overwhelming, it was generally agreed that fluoride should not be included as a constituent in infant formula.

However, on the third day of deliberation, when discussing a Revision of the Advisory List of Nutrient Compounds for Use in Foods for Special Dietary Uses Intended for the Use by Infants and Young Children, the EC successfully argued that fluoride could be used for special medical purposes. As a result, fluoride was therefore retained in the list of substances allowed under this category. The USA and Australia were amongst the countries that supported the EC’s proposition. As such, it can be seen that this was effectively a back-door strategy to allow for the possible inclusion of fluoride in infant formula for special medical purposes.

One should be aware however that fluoride is an industrial waste, and that the disposal of such hazardous waste has become a big headache to industries. What better and more profitable way to dispose of it, therefore, can there be than through adding it to drinking water and infant formula? A military parallel to such means of waste disposal is the use of depleted uranium and ammunition from expired nuclear weapons, and its subsequent use in Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia, and Iraq.

On the third day of deliberation, Thailand came up with a proposition to limit the amount of sugar in cereal food for children, since obesity among children has become rampant. The EC representation argued that the proposition from Thailand was not necessary, and the USA immediately supported the EC as though working in tandem with them. South Africa and a few INGOs, meanwhile, supported Thailand's proposition on the limitation of sugar in cereal foods. The strong tone of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), shaming the EC for not only not leading the voice against sugar in food, but also indirectly supporting it, drew loud applause from many delegates. Shameful indeed to the EC and the USA. Common sense alone, besides science, should have given a resounding NO to additional sugar content in food. Do top officials of governments have no social conscience at all?

The way the Session was being chaired, at times autocratic, and giving little prominence to the dissenting voices of lesser countries and independent INGOs, does not say much in terms of fairness and consensual agreement regarding the decisions that were taken. The German secretariat, in connivance with the German Chair, even went so far as to manipulate the time allocation for the deliberation of certain agenda items. As such, agenda items such as the Recommendations on the Scientific Basis of Health Claims, Nutrient Reference Values, and the Application of Risk Analysis, were given very little time and no substantial debate. As these subjects have a scientific basis in nature much more prominence should be given to them, as any decision made will go a long way to determine the health of consumers.

But who cares? In the name of science and consumer protection, the purse holds the strings. Industrial interests comes first. The interests of consumers come last.

Let those who care speak out now!!

Dr. Wong Ang Peng

See also:

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.

Sweden: Ingrid's Yellow Canaries Alert site

Dr Rath Foundation:

Official report:

Here is the official report about the meeting, as put out by Codex.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Wednesday November 8 2006
updated on Thursday December 23 2010

URL of this article:


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Readers' Comments

Dear Health Supreme Sepp:

Awesome coverage of Codex Thailand. It is so wonderful to get coverage like this for all of us out in the freedom working field. I am greatful for NHF's presence and delegation to the meeting, to Ingrid from Sweden and Dr. Verkerk from the UK and Dr. Wong Ang Peng from Malasia. We need to show up at these international tables. I am hoping that the World Health Freedom Assembly that is being now launched that will be including many of our freedom organizations will be able to help in the future too. Much gratitude to all those at national and international tables.


Diane Miller JD

Posted by: Diane Miller on November 9, 2006 02:54 PM


The bones of the Codex are laid bare. Corporate and Academic Corruption.

But then thats how we conduct our medical business is it not?

I feel that the whiffle and piffle about safe water is an example of Martians on Earth, not a clue as to local conditions. Expensive Junkets for the expert boys and girls represents the best value for Corporate funding.

Top down decision making is totally inappropriate in the current global scenario. It is only necessary to look around .. it is the experts that have created a catastrophe tower which is tottering.

As I have previously said .. It matters not a whit about the Codex and the other protection rackets based on economic criteria .. because when it starts to get really rough and the experts are standing in the street with begging bowls .. then the situation may change .. far too late for many .. as the monotonous chant .. 'There is no Scientific evidence' .. further pollutes the air.

Just bypass the corporate sock puppets and keep on healing.

Posted by: Ivor Hughes on November 9, 2006 03:23 PM


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These articles are brought to you strictly for educational and informational purposes. Be sure to consult your health practitioner of choice before utilizing any of the information to cure or mitigate disease. Any copyrighted material cited is used strictly in a non commercial way and in accordance with the "fair use" doctrine.



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