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 finalised 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 coercions 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 harmonised basis.
The planetary effects upon natural health, and by implication public health, would be both profound and disastrous.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
* United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
* "Understanding Codex Alimentarius the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations World Health Organization."
* General Principles of the Codex Alimentarius. 4.A.i/ii/iii.
* Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses. Agenda for Twenty-fifth Session, held at "Brückenforum Bonn", Friedrich-Breuer-Strasse 17, Bonn, Germany, on 3 – 7 November 2003.
* Report of the Thirteenth Session of the Codex Committee on General Principles, held in Paris from 7 to 11 September 1998. Item 6.2; paragraph 43. Revision of the Acceptance Procedure (CX/GP 98/8).
* COUNCIL DECISION of 17 November 2003 on the accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (2003/822/EC). (Preamble; paragraph 2)
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* Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses. 25th Session. Bruckenforum, Bonn, Germany 3-7 November 2003. ALINORM04/26.
* COUNCIL DECISION of 17 November 2003 on the accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (2003/822/EC).
* Codex Alimentarius Commission. Procedural Manual. Thirteenth Edition. Rules of Procedure of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Rule II (3) - Member Organizations. p. 6.
* European Community Comments on the Joint FAO/WHO Evaluation of Codex Alimentarius and other FAO and WHO work on Food Standards. (Codex Circular Letter CL 2003/8-CAC). p. 9.
* European Community Comments on the Joint FAO/WHO Evaluation of Codex Alimentarius and other FAO and WHO work on Food Standards. (Codex Circular Letter CL 2003/8-CAC). p. 1.
* Codex Alimentarius Commission. Procedural Manual. Thirteenth Edition. Part 2: Uniform Accelerated Procedure for the Elaboration of Codex Standards and Related Texts. pp. 22-23.
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