Europe is effectively the most influential entity at Codex and the EU Food Supplements Directive is essentially the de facto blueprint for the Codex Guidelines for vitamin and mineral supplements.
As a result of international trade agreements such as the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), Codex texts, guidelines and standards are effectively mandatory for all WTO Members.
Additionally, as the WTO does not distinguish between guidelines and standards, and utilizes Codex texts to resolve international trade disputes, a finalized Codex text would likely have the ability to countermand the dietary supplement laws of all WTO member countries – overriding even the United States and its hard-fought victory in its passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, (DSHEA).
The numerous collisions in place for governments to adopt Codex guidelines and standards texts appear to be such that they leave little option but to comply.
In fact, as already noted, the Codex Alimentarius Commission itself has no uncertainty of their own as to whether WTO Member nations have to comply with the guidelines and standards they set.
According to published documents from their Twenty-Seventh Session in Genève Switzerland, 28 June – 3 July 2004:
“Members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are required to base their domestic technical regulations or standards on standards developed by international organisations. These organisations include the Joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission for food safety; the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) for animal health; and the International Plant Protection
Convention (IPPC) for plant health.”
It appears that pursuing policies of appeasement or attempting to work within the restrictive parameters set by the European Food Supplements Directive by the natural health industry would only serve to soften the blow, but only temporarily.
Unless the innovative side of the natural health industry sufficiently coheres to effectively place this issue back “on the radar” in Congress and other legislative bodies and fight back, it is difficult to see how it can continue to effectively serve its adherents and the consumers it serves in the not too distant future.
Until serious changes are made to the manner in which Codex currently operates, it would not be unreasonable to expect that other European health-related legislation, such as their very restrictive regulations on nutrition and health claims, will also become the blueprints for further standards to be enacted on a globally harmonized basis.
The potentially disastrous planetary effects upon natural health, and by implication public health, would be both profound and disastrous.
In the next issue: Details of the Codex Alimentarious Committee's Actual Agenda from the National Health Federation and Codex NGO Insider, Mr. Scott Tipps, Esq. from our Sustainable Health & Nutrition Radio and Podcast interview earlier this month.
And for more information about Codex, from the National Health Federation go to www.theNHF.com.