In a retrograde step for health freedom, the text for the Codex Guidelines on Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements was accepted today.
The text has now been accepted after some 10 years of deliberation. The specific methodology for risk assessment is as yet not finalised, so there is still some room for reducing the final and global impact of the Codex Guidelines.
On America's Day of Independence, it appears as if the US government delegation did little to protect its the independence of its own people - at least in the area of health choices.
And it seems that few countries have fully appreciated that these Guidelines are a slippery slope to global guidelines and subsequent regulation for all natural health products, which could interfere with the future availability of traditions of botanical medicine, some of them thousands of years old.
And here's what happened, many thanks to Diane Miller for her rapid reporting from the Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting in Rome...
Press Release - National Health Freedom Coalition: Codex Full Commission adopts Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements in final form July 4, 2005, Rome Italy. by Diane Miller JD.
Minutes ago the full Commission of Codex Alimentarius adopted in final form, the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements. This adoption is the Step 8 adoption, the final stage of adoption for the international Codex guidelines. The Codex Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements guidelines are now official and no longer in draft form.
The Commission, attended by over 85 of the 171 Codex countries, adopted the guidelines by consensus method. There was brief discussion before adoption taking in comments from a small number of countries and two NGOs.
Australia requested adding the word "only" in Section 1.3 bertwee the words "apply" and "in". The sentence would then read "These guidelines apply only in those jurisdictions where products defined in 2.1 are regulated as foods."
Australia's comments were followed by request from Venzuela and Spain to clarify the spanish translation.
Venezuela was followed by China. China stated that every government in making decisions about vitamins and minerals should take into account the dietary limitations of their own countries, that governments can select vitamins and minerals acocording to the customs and habits of their country. China also pointed out that there should be definitions of the sources of vitamins. Columbia spoke up and commented that Vitamins and Minerals are intended for deficiencies and are recommended for health reasons and said that there has to be no exaggerated use of minerals.
Egypt commented and offered a clarification saying that vitamin and minerals can be considered if daily needs are not being met.
After the countries were heard, the Chairman recognized NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). National Health Federation (NHF) a world wide consumer organization with NGO status at Codex was recognized to speak. Attonery Scott Tipps of NHF stood and requested the guidelines not be adopted but rather be sent back to commitee for 3 important reasons. 1) According to Codex rules a "purpose" statement must be part of all guidelines adopted and the Vitamin and Mineral guidelines did not contain a purpose. Secondly,the guidelines did not define vitamin and mineral and therefore it is unclear as to what is being regulated. And lastly, he pointed out that the Chinese comments were substantive and according to Codex rules on page 27 of the procedural manual, a substantive amendment request should be addressed at the committee level. His comments were heard.
The NGO IADSA was then recognized. IADSA stressed the fact that the draft guidelines should be adopted because they had been worked on in committee for near 10 years and that valuable consensus had been reached in the Bonn Germany committee meeting and the guidelines should now be passed
After all comments, the Chair, consulted with counsel to assess whether the addition of the word "only" would change the meaning of the sentence. After learning that it would not he consulted with Australia and Australia repeated their request for amendment. The Chair recommended adoption of the amendment and there was no dissent. Then the Chair recommended the guidelines be adopted at Stage 8 in their final form and that China submit their substantive amendment requests to the committee at their next meeting. There was no further comment or dissent from any country and the guidelines were adopted.
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