Codex 2006 Blog Report for 7/3/2006

How Codex and other supplement regulation laws may impact the availability of supplements

Codex 2006 Blog Report for 7/3/2006

Postby pcnetwrx » Tue Jul 04, 2006 3:32 pm

Day 22: July 3, 2006 Thrilling Day at Codex!
July 4th, 2006
Today was a thrilling day here in the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) meeting in Geneva. Several developments took place which, if properly exploited, can be of major significance for our side. For some real fun, read all the way down to the end of the post: things you will really find fascinating took place today.

The day did not start off so well, though. The first item we were hoping to see go our way was a move by the health freedom coalition nations to move the discussion of the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (GS) up from last on the agenda to much earlier to allow significant discussion. You may remember that at Dr. Grossklaus?s Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU, Bonn, Germany) last November that item was moved by the Chairman from item No. 2 on the agenda to item No. 11, the last item. It was carefully allotted no meaningful time and therefore there was no discussion about it at that meeting.

The same tactic is being used here: although Codex is required to come up with a strategy for global implementation of the GS at this meeting (based on national comments given since the last CAC meeting (Rome, Italy, July 4-9, 2005) and the discussion that the item was supposed to receive at CCNFSDU and Codex Committee on Food Labeling (CCFL, Ottawa, Canada May, 2006). You may recall that South Africa introduced their excellent pro health strategy consisting of 11 points for the implementation of the GS and it did receive discussion although the US spoke out against including optimal health as a goal and against banning the advertising of junk foods, known to increase life threatening diseases and death, to children. But SA fought and managed to get the 11 points back into the final records so they are on the docket for discussion.

A report made available by the World Health Organization and the FAO on the discussion so far, by the way, was handed out yesterday. SA?s excellent points were sort of in there, kind of, a little. Basically they were buried and nearly invisible so any pro health advocacy for them will have to wait until there is a discussion, IF there is a discussion, of course! We are already running at least 1 hour behind time and we have only had one day of proceedings.

No one spoke for moving the item earlier in the agenda, however, and the proposed agenda was adopted without demurral by the entire CAC.

But there was plenty of fun, none the less!

Early on, when the obligatory opening remarks were being given it was noted that ?several Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have applied for observer status which shows growing interest in Codex. Codex is doing well, certainly better than in the past? and ?in light of the joint WHO/FAO consultation [that?s the one presented at CAC 2005 that said ?18. Codex should determine whether it has a relationship to nutrition and, if so, what that relationship is.] Codex is becoming an organization which can continuously review and update itself?. In those same remarks, it was noted that ?it is necessary to adapt the mandate of Codex to make Codex more efficient.? FAO noted with pleasure the steps which Codex has been taking to bring about improved efficiency and noted an ?important reorganization? despite budget cuts within FAO. In fact, FAO noted, Codex had received a 4% increase in their allocation from FAO. It is not clear that the same was true of WHO?s response to Codex and it was WHO which last year chastised Codex so heavily for its failure to produce a benefit to human health during its existence. (That statement by Dr. Kirsten Leitner, by the way, appears to have been edited out of the audio record available on the internet of last year?s CAC meeting. Somebody REALLY didn?t like that bit, it would appear!)

Now that seems to me a really fascinating statement. I will leave it to you to ponder why the world?s food standard setting body needs to worry about its rep. Could it be that the awareness is growing among its constituents, the nations of the world, that Codex is a troubled, perhaps even an invalid, organization and process? Could it be that the damage which standards and Guidelines based on poor science and multinational corporate agendas, not health, are beginning to attract enough attention to tarnish that rep? It certainly looks like it to us as we go from country to country and make friends with the regulators and responsible persons of a wide swath of countries.

Then things got really interesting. Along the way, Dr. Claude Mosha, the CAC Chairman (yes, the very same Dr. Mosha who wrote a letter to an African National Department Head prohibiting the Codex participation of a pro health Codex Delegate under our sponsorship who is, by the way, NOT here) reporting on the deliberations and activities of the 57th Codex Alimentarius Commission Executive Committee session noted the importance of the ?Use of Codex standards and texts at national and regional levels? to increase cooperation with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and increase the use of Codex standards at national levels?. Read that as ?Codex is trying to compel every country in the world to adopt Codex standards and Guidelines as their national laws.?

The position of the Natural Solutions Foundation is that every Codex standard or Guideline which is based on junk science and which will degrade health through widespread and comprehensive contamination of the food supply and mandated under nutrition through the impact of the Vitamin and Mineral Guideline and the companion definition by the WHO Workshop on the Application of Risk Assessment to Nutrients of an adverse event which is defined as ?any change in a bio marker?. Did you notice that it is ANY change, not just changes in the wrong direction?

In his report on the 58th Executive Committee Meeting (the EC meets twice each year), the Dr. Moshe repeated the fact that ?Codex has embarked on a series of reforms based on the WHO/FAO consultation?. You may recall from our reports from last year?s CAC that there were 20 suggested reforms in that report. Our unconfirmed, but reliable, information is that the joint Consultation they are talking about originally came back suggesting that Codex be killed. Industry got into the swimming pool and the result was 20 deeply watered-down recommendations. Number 18 (referred to above) was about nutrition (the only one which dealt with it, by the way) and, as soon as it was reached, Dr. Slorach, last year?s chairman abruptly cut off discussion saying that the CAC was out of time. So what the reforms dealing with nutrition might be are unclear to us here at the Natural Solutions Foundation.

Moving right along, however, the Secretary wanted to determine if there were a quorum present to take care of a procedural item. In this fancy, state of the art Swiss conference center the only way he could do that, despite the fancy microphones, lights, translation devices, etc., was to ask the national delegations to hold up their country signs and count them. We found it interesting that there were a bunch of countries that, while present, obviously did not hear the instructions and failed to hold up their signs. When the Secretary counted, there was no quorum and the matter was deferred until tomorrow, Tuesday, since not enough country flags were held up. It was noted that there were a lot of countries here at the CAC on Codex Trust Fund ?scholarship? or support (the Trust Fund is designed to support bringing the developing countries to the meetings) were not present. That is apparently often the case.

Now for the really interesting part:
When the next item came up in which words were being deleted from the Codex Committee on General Principles (CCGP) regulations which clarified that Codex texts (i.e., standards and guidelines) were completely advisory what happened next might be seen as early shots in a CAC revolution.
Malaysia noted that it was not comfortable with the deletion. Singapore joined Malaysia in objecting to this change saying ?Every country is supposed to go through risk assessment for appropriate levels of consideration. But CCGP is trying to force mandating of these standards and guidelines?. A Codex standard is no longer advisory.? Both made it clear that they did not want to adopt the proposed language adopted since the changes under consideration made the adoption and use of Codex texts compulsory.

To the distress of us who are here representing the Natural Solutions Foundation and health freedom advocates everywhere the United States? Dr. Ed Scarbrough (our Codex Manager) spoke strongly for the change. Why not? The US, continually abdicating its responsibility to protect consumer health and health freedom, supporting all of the multinationals? trade and commercial interests, once again embarrassed us and showed what its colors actually are: green, not red, white and blue. The EU, whose money may be different colors, but whose interests are just the same, followed like a baby duck after its momma duck.

But there was quite a response: the ordinarily placid, polite and calm delegates began to speak in strong terms to oppose the US and EU. Singapore and Malaysia?s strong opposition to the change were joined by
Egypt who said they ?Have to register strong reservations over the amendment.? and concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
China concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
Nigeria concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
Bhutan concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
India concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
Indonesia concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
Natural Health Federation, the only other health freedom advocate organization (and an official Codex Observer) here, concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
Philippines concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
Sudan concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU

Dr. Mosha, the CAC Chairman, clearly tried to quash and quell the revolution by suggesting that the issue be sent to CCGP to deal with.
Singapore came back into the debate swinging, stating that ?Codex should not transfer the review [of this matter] to another body?.
Tanzania, despite the fact that Dr. Mosha is from Tanzania and the Tanzanian representative had told us when we visited him in his own country that ?Tanzania would not do anything to conflict with or embarrass the Chairman since he is from our country? apparently forgot its resolve to note ?Tanzania supports Malaysia and Singapore? [!]
Comoros noted that they concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
Uganda concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
Iran concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU
Ghana concurred with Malaysia and Singapore against the US and EU

Other than the Great Parmesan Cheese Debate which had raged for a decade until Singapore called for a vote at the 2005 CAC and the whole thing was dropped, such sustained dissent is unheard of. Country after country participated in what amounted to nearly a role call vote AGAINST the change.

Next, the Secretary of Codex was said by Dr. Mosha to ?have a new idea? [sic]. He was given the floor by Dr. Mosha and said, ?No sentence provides that Codex standards and related guidelines are mandatory, and this is especially true after acceptance of standards [we presume that he means after acceptance of standards by countries which adopt revised standards which differ from those of Codex ? this is our position exactly, and what we have been telling countries around the world to help them focus on how to protect themselves from Codex?s damage to their people?s food and nutritional security and to their health. You can imagine how thrilled we were to hear this ?clarification?!]

The Secretary went on to say ?Every thing the [Codex Alimentarius] Commission is adopting is a recommendation to the governments. Everything is advisory and there should be no distinction between standards and other texts [e. g., guidelines].? He mentioned that this equivalence of standards, guidelines or other texts as a change which WHO and FAO supported and which was brought about in the last years. This is a strong endorsement of the Natural Solutions Foundation template which was developed in collaboration with the Citizens? Codex Working Group and others. You can see how it applies by downloading the Codex eBook which elaborates the process as it applies to the restrictive and deadly Vitamin and Mineral Guideline ratified, as you know, with such strong and, to us, distressing, US jubilation one year ago today at the 2005 CAC meeting in Rome.

Now for the kicker: Dr. Mosha, the Chairman who refused to meet with us in Tanzania before the CAC because he wished to remain ?neutral and not be pressured by any group [sic] on any position?, the same Dr. Mosha who bullied a National Department into not allowing our sponsorship of an experienced Codex delegate to represent his country?s health interests, that same Dr. Mosha said, ?the change is adopted by consensus [!!!!] with the reservations of those countries noted who have expressed them!?

What that means is that this ?neutral? Chairman sided with the US and EU despite heated, sustained and articulate opposition to it. What that tells you is that although we are beginning to have an impact, the fight for health is an uphill battle which is going to take time, resources and sustained effort. And we will be here for this battle as long as you want us to be here.

By the way, if you want to understand what Codex is really all about, and why it acts as it does, get a copy of ?Nutricide: the DVD? and find out why, how, and by whom Codex was born. If you don?t already know, it will certainly attract your attention, I can promise you!

And now for the very best: While the cadmium standard for rice and mollusks was being discussed again, while the standard was being raised for this very, very dangerous heavy metal from 0.01 (a common national standard), 0.02 ppm (the current US standard) to 0.04 (an industry-friendly standard which allows industrial sludge to be used as ?fertilizer? thus saving companies a great deal of money they would otherwise have to spend in expensive appropriate disposal). Last year at the CAC, Kenya and Malaysia noted how many children would die from kidney disease if the cadmium standard were doubled in their staple food, polished rice. Kenya noted that at least 65,000 children would die PER YEAR in Kenya alone if the standard were double. Well, somebody got to Kenya (can you guess whom that might have been?) and this year Kenya, sweet as butter-wouldn?t-melt-in-your-mouth, spoke in favor of 65,000 kids dying for somebody?s profit: ?Kenya supports the 0.04 ppm standard.? Bye, bye kids (or perhaps that should read ?Buy buy!?

Nigeria was not about taking it any longer. Nigeria, one of our friendly countries that we successfully and extensively visited during our most recent African trip, articulated what we intend to make the rallying cry of Codex countries who value health more than they value corporate interests: the Nigerian Head of Delegation said that ?Codex should please consider the issues of health as opposed to the issues of trade!? YES!

Oh, yes. One more thing: In discussing the trade of radioactive food which has been contaminated by a radiation accident (or fallout from a non-accidental source): Codex proposed a table of standards for amounts of radioactive particles (?radionuclides?). The usual suspects thought that was a fine idea. Sure. You?ve got radioactive food. Just dilute it or wait a bit and then sell it internationally. Great idea. Of course, radioactivity is NOT labeled. Health? Consumer protection? Consumer choice? Fuggedaboutit!

However, Indonesia said that it was completely unacceptable to sell radioactive food. Sudan, Egypt, Singapore strongly objected.

Don?t be surprised that IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Commission, which attends Codex (think about that: why do they need to be here? Because of the mandated irradiation of internationally traded food, that?s why) said, ?Mr. Chairman, we have had guidelines on radionuclide contamination of foods since 1989. Codex uses the same standards.? Somehow that was supposed to make it all OK.

Apparently it did for the Chairman who declared that that the radionuclide standard advanced by Codex was adopted noting the strong reservations of Indonesia, Singapore, Egypt and Sudan. Well, given the fact that Codex has declared itself to be advisory only, if every country in the world had advanced laboratories that they use to detect radiation in every single lot of food coming into their country, and if they have the international trade muscle to demand changes in the food shipped to them, then any country in the world can protect its people against radioactive foods. Yeah. Right. If you believe that is a meaningful solution, there is a bridge I am sure you would be interested in.

There?s a lot of work ahead of us but you can see that there is a growing body of vigorous discontent and dissent representing world-wide opinion and interests, not just the multinationals any longer!

More tomorrow. This promises to be a lively session and we will keep you closely posted. After all that?s why we are here.

By the way, if you like what we are doing, how about making a contribution on an ongoing basis to keep us doing it?

Yours in health and freedom,
Rima E. Laibow, MD
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