1 Downing Street sent this weasel worded "non-reply" to the recent petition below - The real situation is as outlined in the Clarification which follows from the Alliance for Natural Health website - http://www.anhcampaign.org/
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to oppose the adoption of the Codex Alimentarius (WHO/UN) proposals for restriction of the presently freely available herb/vitamin/mineral food supplements.”
Details of Petition:
“The principle of self medication with herbal/vitamin/mineral food supplements would be restricted to ‘prescription only’ status, if the Codex Alimentarius is applied in this country. Since the NHS priorities are ill health diagnosis and treatment, the good health preservation that supplements provide will be inaccessible to the majority of our population and the cost to the NHS will increase, and the health of the population will decline.”
The Government’s response
There are no current or planned Codex Alimentarius proposals that require the UK to change the controls on vitamin and mineral or botanical food supplements.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created in 1963 to develop food standards and guidelines. One of the main purposes of Codex’s work is to protect the health of consumers. Codex texts and guidelines are not enforceable in law and Codex member countries are not obliged to reflect their requirements in domestic legislation.
In the UK, food supplements are regulated under the European Food Supplements Directive 2002/46/EC which came into effect in the UK in 2003 and has applied since 2005. The Directive is implemented into national UK law by the Food Supplements Regulations (England) 2003. There are no plans to make vitamin and mineral or botanical food supplements available on prescription only.
Herbal remedies are subject to separate controls and are overseen by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority. Herbal remedies do not fall within the scope of Codex guidelines.
An outline of Codex, its activities and the UK’s involvement is available at: www.food.gov.uk/foodindustry/regulation/Codexbranch/.
NOW READ THE TRUTH!
Subject: ANH Update: Clarity on Codex confusion
Issue No.31 Monday 30th November 2009
Codex: confusion – or smokescreen?
The British Prime Minister has told more than 60,000 people concerned about the effects of Codex guidelines on food supplements that they shouldn’t be worried. We presume concerned citizens are expected to feel humbled by the wise words of the PM, and should now go about their lives never fretting about Codex again.
The Downing Street petition
As we clarify in our news item on the subject, the Downing Street e-petition to which the PM was responding, was not well worded. But the sentiment in the petition was clear. Being told by the PM not to worry is not only patronising, it also misses the point of people’s concerns that to any thinking person was clearly evident. The petitioners had after all raised the point that the Codex Alimentarius guideline will in due course establish an internationally recognised maximum daily dosage for vitamin and minerals in food supplements. Levels above these are increasingly likely to be viewed as medicinal by governments. The US Food & Drug Administration tells us they wouldn’t dream of implementing the Codex vitamin guideline into US law—but why is the US Codex delegation so intent on nodding this and other nutrition-related guidelines through in cahoots with the European Union?
In some respects, the situation is actually worse than the petitioners claimed, because rather than forcing high dose supplements into a prescription-only category, they force them into medicinal law where such products are likely to be regarded as unlicensed medicines (which are illegal). It will then be down to nutraceutical or pharmaceutical companies to license them. Will companies have either the desire or the financial capability to meet the hugely costly data requirements for drug licensing? Time will tell.
Wider concerns about Codex
What really makes so many people uneasy is the notion that the global food supply is becoming increasingly controlled by a small number of corporations and governments. We have recently updated our Codex pages to explain better to people, in layperson’s terms, how it all works, and why, in some respects, Codex’s remit on vitamins and mineral food supplements is just the thin end of the wedge.
If you’re living in Europe, Codex actually makes little or no difference to your availability of food supplements as this is taken care of by a complex of EU laws, some of which, given the EU’s major influence on the Codex Committee on Nutrition, provide templates for Codex. Some of the key areas to be very concerned about include Codex’s role in approving technologies that are either downright dangerous or create unparalleled damage to the environment. These include endorsing genetically modified (GM) crops, pesticides, food irradiation and the use of synthetic chemical additives in foods.
The most recent issue of The Economist tells us that investment in agriculture has declined relentlessly over the last 25 years. Yet we are meant to feed a population that is expected to grow by another third by 2030 and hit an estimated 9 billion by 2050. And we’re expected to not be worrying about the quality of our food and our access to concentrated sources of nutrients (food/dietary supplements) to make up for its inadequacies? It’s no wonder the UK PM’s friends in the biotech industry are rubbing their hands—they are telling governments they can do the magic, just like they did with the Green Revolution of the 1970s. Successes like this, say expert’s like ANH’s Robert Verkerk, are “unrepeatable” and were in any event far from always the successes they were claimed to be. Trying to make such promises today, armed with the tools of genetic modification is in our view a recipe for disaster.
What you can do
A lot of people rightly feel very frustrated about the difficulty of impacting Codex. Many of us are simply not willing to take the British PM’s advice and stop worrying. There is just not enough trust in the small number of governments and corporations that are wrestling control of the global food supply. Codex and the World Trade Organization have become key tools in the process.
Find out what you can do as an individual. We urge you to not take the advice of the British PM and do nothing!
Read on for other recent news stories:
Downing Street ignores weight of public concern over Codex
ANH clarifies UK Prime Minister's Office response to recent Downing Street Petition over Codex concerns Read More
EC scientific committee ‘unqualified for task’ say international medical doctors group
Irish campaign group VOICE issues press release over fluoride risks to Irish children Read More
ANH Press Release: Food supplement ban in 2010 may contravene EU law
ANH raises serious concerns over planned ban on vitamin and mineral food supplements across the EU in January 2010 Read More
UK herbalists threatened by Government inaction over statutory regulation
Herbalists urged to respond to Government Consultation before November 16th Read More
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Alliance for Natural Health, The Atrium, Curtis Road, Dorking, Surrey RH4 1XA, United Kingdom