July 4, 2007
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Summer of Decisions: The State of Health Freedom 2007
Natural Solutions Foundation Analysis
A series of international and US government actions at the end of 2006 and beginning of 2007 have put Health Freedom of Choice -- with regards to Organic Standards, Nutrients, Traditional Remedies and Leading Edge Alternatives -- in greater jeopardy than any time since the adoption of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). Thus, the Summer of 2007 has become a Summer of Decision for health freedom activists.
Codex Alimentarius is the least known, the most impactful and potentially the most dangerous threat to health and health freedom. Most threats to health freedom are local ( e.g., a State goes on a rampage against physicians practicing drug free medicine), national (e.g., the US FDA decides to articulate the law inaccurately setting the stage for draconian "enforcement" of a regulatory structure which deems all health aides to be untested drugs, like cherries if used for arthritis, or untested devices, like hot rocks to sooth painful muscles). Codex, because it is a UN project which sets standards and guidelines controlling the international trade of all foods and nutrients, not only determines what is available internationally (with all the market pressure that implies) but also becomes the domestic law for those countries which, like the United States, have decided to "Harmonize" with Codex standards and guidelines. The US announced its intention to do just that on October 11, 1995 in the Federal Register when it stated that it would give preference to international standards over US regulation and, as it has turned out, US law as well.
Codex is a mechanism for moving the entire world rapidly towards an industrialized, nutrient poor diet which benefit a multinational constituency and threaten health everywhere by compromising food on a cataclysmic scale. Under Codex, dangerous, expensive and health-damaging changes in the global food supply are being implemented. Organic standards are being degraded, permitted heavy metal residue levels are being increased, Codex permits astonishingly high levels of dangerous industrial drugs, chemicals, pesticides, toxic veterinary drugs and other poisons in the food supply. Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for many pesticides are being removed so that there is no upper limit whatsoever to the amounts of these systemic poisons which can be introduced into foods (and into the bodies and environments of the farmer, his family and his land. Others are being increased dramatically. Organic standards are being lowered so pure, unadulterated food can be expected to vanish globally since the phrase will be maintained but the reality will be degraded beyond recognition to meet the needs of industrial farming. At the same time, high potency (dose) nutrients are being prohibited since they are treated as if they were toxins (severely limited, unlike most toxins) and "assessed" by "Risk Assessment" to be present at no more than, for vitamins and minerals, for example, 115% of the amount found in untreated foods. High potency nutrients will become unavailable in any country which "HARMonizes" with Codex" (the US) or adopts its texts as its domestic laws (most of the developing world).
In effect, Codex standards and guidelines mandate unparalleled levels of toxicity plus global under-nutrition, the very same condition to which the World Health Organization (WHO), one of Codex's parent organizations (Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, is the other) attributes the global epidemic of non communicable diseases of under nutrition: cancers, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes and obesity. These diseases are the principle killers in the developed world (after properly used pharmaceuticals) and are rapidly becoming the principle killers in the developing world as well. These preventable diseases are also major profit centers for industries that depend on illness for their profits: the pharmaceutical and medical industries.
At this year's Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) meeting (FAO Headquarters, Rome, July 2-7, 2007) the procedure has been radically altered. In previous years, standards and Guidelines proposed by the various Codex Committees and regional associations were discussed (at least to some extent) by the national delegates to the annual CAC. Unjust, dangerous, unwise or unhealthy Codex texts were opposed by countries whose self interest or public health was harmed by the text under consideration. If the standard or Guideline was not approved or needed to be revised, it would either be killed or sent back to Committee for revision, often along with specific instructions to that body. When ready, the text would return to CAC for further consideration, advancement to another level of acceptance or rejection.
That has changed dramatically. The anticipated date for implementation and globalization of total control of the world's food trade appeared to be dramatically off track. Things were not moving very rapidly despite the near-desperate efforts of Committee chairpersons like the German Rolf Grossklaus, MD. of the Codex Committee for Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) and the Canadian Ellen Mackenzie, Ph.D. of the Codex Committee for Food Labeling to rush decisions, curtail discussion and gallop through their view of the agenda at a dizzying pace. Of course, pro-health options like the WHO's Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Nutrition (mandated for implementation by Codex by both WHO and FAO) somehow never seemed to garner adequate time for meaningful discussion leaving implementation strategies in the dust and in the dark.
This year at CAC not only has the Natural Solutions Foundation been prevented from mingling, eating or talking with the Codex Delegates (by security guards on several occasions!), but the delegates have been prevented from discussion of the standards and Guidelines they are advancing through the Codex process! It is strikingly reminiscent of the US Senate being handed sealed copies of the Patriot Act weeks after 9/11, assured that their security clearances were not high enough to read the law but being instructed to vote on it anyway. If you recall, 99 US Senators did. Robert Bryd of Virginia was the sole member of the Senate to refuse to buy that pig in that poke.
At CAC, the Chair now urges members to adopt whatever texts have been brought forward, whether they agree with them or vehemently disagree. Texts and amendments to them are presented "en bloc" for approval en mass without a single word of discussion, if the Chair can bully the delegates into it. When delegates try to overcome this de facto gag rule, either they are told that they are getting in the way of the good work of the CAC (shame) or that they are making it impossible for the CAC to complete its work (guilt).
Those few delegates who try to clarify the irregularities of the process or the dangers of the standards or Guidelines are told that they are getting in the way. Since Codex refuses to define "consensus" and the Chair's agenda is set before the meeting, the Chair does whatever the Chair had intended to do in the first place. An example: today new standards were authorized for a whole group of dangerous industrial chemicals (pesticides) whose MRLs were simply evaporated by the Chairman's administrative fiat. This means that there is no upper limit to the amount of these metabolic poisons which may be incorporated into your food.
Critical health freedom choices this summer mean making sure that your country does not harmonize with Codex Alimentarius and that your national scientists and legislators follow the Codex Two Step Process to make pro-health choices where Codex makes pro-industry ones and to protect your right to clean, unadulterated and healthy food. If you are a United States citizen, that also means signing the Natural Solutions Foundation Citizens Petition to force the US Government to comply with US law, rather than Codex standards and Guidelines, with reference to vitamins and minerals.
In the last days of the year the President signed the Adverse Event Reporting Act that requires supplement sellers to report reactions to their products; we view this law as potentially beneficial to consumers. At the same time the Food and Drug Administration - the FDA - issued a draft "CAM" Guidance (complementary and alternative modalities) that Congressman Ron Paul, MD, called "an abuse of FDA power..." This is and attempt to grab power over our remedies traditionally overseen by state law by an agency that has show itself unable to effectively implement its confused and contradictory authority over foods and drugs.
The FDA issued the draft Guidance on December 26th, but did not bother to give the public notice until February 26, 2007. Then the public had its turn to comment. nearly two hundred thousand people did so, telling the FDA to leave our alternatives alone. This same grassroots movement has swelled the ranks of NSF supporters. We've joined Dr. Paul in condemning this blatant power grab and have called for meaningful reorganization of the FDA. The FDA needs to focus on its core mission of protecting the public from dangerous, side-effect causing prescription drugs that, these days, have much more in common with chemical toxins than natural materials. To do that, the agency's food jurisdiction should be shifted to the US Agriculture Department or other existing agencies.
Every Federal agency, however, is capable of causing great harm to the public and the USDA is no exception. early June, the Department approved the addition of 38 more non-organic source materials to products that can continue to mislead us by pretending to be truly organic. This continues a general and disturbing trend to dilute organic standards. The NSF supports strong organic standards and supports the disclosure of conditions, such as irradiation and genetic modification, that allow the public to make informed choices.
Late in June the FDA, 14 years after being instructed to do so by Congress, finally issued what are called "Good Manufacturing Practices" regulations to the dietary supplement industry. This 467 page document has capacity to reduce consumer access to high potency nutrients and admits that many small companies will be driven out of business as a result. We are very concerned about this increase in regulation. Just previously, the US Senate adopted the FDA "Revitalization" bill which would "solve" the problem of FDA failures by granting it more power to abuse. When the public rose up against that bill, it was amended to protect dietary supplements from its new powers. But the House must now consider it, as HR.1567, which ought to be further amended to further protect natural remedies. We note that Dr. Paul has introduced the Health Freedom Protection Act, HR.2117, that would do just that. Our Representatives need to hear from the public so they support our freedoms with Dr. Paul instead of the new restrictions proposed by Sen. Kennedy.
At the same time, various regional and international agencies continue to threaten market access to wholesome foods, natural remedies and dietary supplements. As always, the FDA's announced intent to "HARMonize" our freedoms to international rules (even where that decreases our access to safe products), operating through the North American Union, Codex and the new US/EU cooperation agreement, remains an ever present threat. Codex Alimentarius - the world food code - still remains too much a creature of big governments and big commercial interests, although a nascent alliance of health-friendly countries, inspired by information from NSF is making inroads and recently protected healthy babies from being exposed to fluoride in their formulas.
This is an especially exciting time for the Dietary Supplement / Natural Products market. While stricter regulations seem on the way, scientific advances and ongoing clinical studies point the way to better and more effective products. The problem is not in the science or the production; the problem is in the politics. These products are generally recognized as safe when used as directed, like any food. We therefore need to reject the big government notion that tells us we will only be safe if bureaucrats have more control over us. That nostrum is provably wrong, as we see from the failure of government, with plenary power over approving drugs (as to efficacy and safety) to protect the public from what some estimate to be hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths each year from lawful and correctly used prescription drugs.
The wise people who wrote the Declaration of Independence told us, "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..."
It is now time for people concerned with natural solutions to our health care crises to declare our independence from the failures of the bureaucratic system and to demand new freedoms to offset and correct the old failures of the regulators.
Ralph Fucetola, JD
Rima E. Laibow, MD
Natural Solutions Foundation
Citizens Petition: www.healthfreedomusa.org/index.php?page_id=184
HR. 2117: http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/healthfreedomusa/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=11754