Supplement availability - the Codex scare

rusty_blackhaw(6a)March 15, 2005

There have been concerns expressed on this forum recently that international standards proposed for vitamins and minerals by the Codex Alimentarius would force all supplements off the market in the U.S. by June 2005.

This warning has apparently been circulating in e-mails. Snopes.com, which specializes in getting to the bottom of rumors and urban legends, has a good article refuting the fear-mongering, explaining just what the Codex is and why it won't affect American consumers.

The Food and Drug Administration also is providing information that will be reassuring to buyers of vitamins and herbal supplements.

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johnyb(QLD Aust)

As I sit here reading your post beneath the advert for the antidepressant wellbutrin, it is reassuring to know that the Codex Alimentarius will contribute to better natural supplement manufacturing standards.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 5:56AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Sorry John, I don't quite understand your meaning here.

Are you suggesting that antidepressant do not have adequate manufacturing standards, or that supplements do not need such standards, or are you worried about the Codex for some other reason?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 8:43AM
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johnyb(QLD Aust)

The limited information that I have gathered leads me to believe that if and when accepted by Australia, the Codex reforms will be a welcome improvement to supplement manufacture standards, and clear most health food store shelves of useless product quickly.

For herbalists in Australia, sensible codex implementation should mean little change to what we do, business as usual. My understanding (and this may be incorrect) is that nutrients such as vitamin C will have new maximum dosage guidelines in line with scientific data. Of course there will never be a deterrant to anyone taking any amount of a freely available product, but guidelines will exist as good reference. Is this correct Eric?

I presume the American situation will be similair.

John

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 12:47AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Any suggested guidelines do not supersede U.S. law and American consumers should expect business as usual.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 8:11AM
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franc(z5IND)

Shouldn't expect business as usual

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 1:36AM
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mayura97(KL, Malaysia)

Anyhow, I think that supplement is kind of dangerous, especially it is commercialised heavily... the better way is just to take herbal supplements after consulting with a herbalist, however this proposal of a codex is a good step towards a more improved supplements, a move that should be applauded...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 5:49AM
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antidaughter(z5 NIL)

While I am for the improvement of herbal products offered commercially, I have to wonder about seriously about this codex. The FDA claims it will not impact americans but inferrs that the codex could cause problems exporting to other countries. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/dscodex.html#restrict

While this is not expected to be a problem, the FDA kindly has put up a page about product harmonization: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/int-codx.html

I would argue that if one has no intentions of following suit, then one would have no need of "harmonization"

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 12:52PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

If a company wants to export drugs (or supplements) abroad, it is already subject to the laws and regulations of that country. The U.S. market is another matter.

From the FDA site:

"...there is no basis for the concern that the Codex Guidelines on Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements would require dietary supplements be sold as prescription drugs in the United States. First, there is nothing in the Guidelines that suggests that supplements be sold as drugs requiring a prescription. Second, U.S. regulatory agencies are bound by the laws established by Congress, not by Codex standards. Third, because of our generally less restrictive standards, it is unlikely that (a) trade dispute would be brought against the U.S.

In summary, U.S. consumers' access to a broad array of dietary supplements under DSHEA would not be changed in any way by Codex's adoption of guidelines on vitamin and mineral food supplements."<.i>

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 6:58PM
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Traute_Biogardener

Let me tell you what things look like across the border in Canada. Our country has been used as a test case for a long time. What is made out to look like concern for consumer protection is nothing but the attempt of the huge pharmaceutical companies to control all sales of supplements. As you probably know, the American pharmaceutical companies who are financing political campaigns have been allowed to take out patents on the medicinal herbs of the Amazon and other protected areas in the world. Sounds ridiculous, because only inventions are supposed to be patentable, and these plants are God's creation. Nevertheless these plants are now patented and no one other than those companies can now grow or sell them at highly inflated prices. They are no longer available fresh but only in capsule, tincture, or other expensive form.

The plants have also been placed on the list of banned weeds in Canada, and if anyone reports them as growing in our yard, they are removed by a weed inspector. Many of the herbs which some of you are growing in your yards right now are being yanked out in our yards and we can be criminally charged for growing them.

Americans have been standing by in silence while these laws were passed in Canada, telling us that it was for our protection. When it happens to you, you won't be saying that any more.

There are many supplements which have not been available for sale at all in Canada any more and soon they won't be available for sale in the US either. Your politicians won't help you, because the industry is financing their political campaigns. We Canadians saw this coming and fought a hard fight against it, and I remember the members of this forum telling me at the time that we should be happy that the Canadian government is protecting us.

We lost the battle. We can now be arrested for growing the medicinal plants which we need to survive the same as anyone growing halucinatory drugs or anyone dealing cocaine. Your country is next. Get ready for it. How?

Don't tell anyone what medicinal plants are growing in your yard. Don't recommend them to anyone. If someone asks you their names, make up a fake name. Never use the proper name. Don't even mention in this forum what you are growing. Someone could report you and you would be in trouble.

That is the way it has been in Canada for a few year and it will soon be that way in the USA, the land of the free.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 12:08PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

"the American pharmaceutical companies who are financing political campaigns have been allowed to take out patents on the medicinal herbs of the Amazon and other protected areas in the world. Sounds ridiculous, because only inventions are supposed to be patentable, and these plants are God's creation. Nevertheless these plants are now patented and no one other than those companies can now grow or sell them at highly inflated prices."

"We can now be arrested for growing the medicinal plants which we need to survive the same as anyone growing halucinatory drugs or anyone dealing cocaine."

I would like to see documentation that 1) pharmaceutical companies have patented any plants (rather than the drugs made from them) making it impossible for us to grow them, and 2) the section of Canadian law supposedly forbidding the growing of medicinal herbs, apart from marijuana and other sources of recreational drugs.

As I remember Traute's case, she was harassed over the appearance of her garden, not for growing herbs.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 2:54PM
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johnyb(QLD Aust)

You say herbs are nolonger available fresh? Is this true?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 5:17PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Canada has prohibited the sale of some processed herbal products for health/safety reasons, like a number of countries around the world. Raw unprocessed herbs seem to be less stringently regulated. I have seen nothing to indicate that Canadians can't grow herbs for their own use.

If such were the case, this company would be out of business.

More on Canadian law and herbal products.

You can find out more on HealthCanada's website.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 6:31PM
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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

I'm in Canada too. The reason some plants are banned for growing in gardens has nothing to do with herbal medicine.

Plants make the noxious weed list due to concerns for agriculture; weeds that make hay unfit for cows or horses, that are the secondary host for diseases that affect commercial crops like wheat and corn or that are invasive and get into field crops are banned.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 10:37AM
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mudbugtx(8)

Here's a recent update from the EU.

Here is a link that might be useful: a step in the right direction

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 9:16AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

The EU supplement directive was a piece of European Union legislation affecting member states.

It is different from the Codex guidelines, which are a set of proposed global standards under UN auspices.

Neither mandates any changes in how Americans buy herbs and supplements.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 9:42AM
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KCCAT(Z6NY)

A dr. (Dr. Carolyn Dean) Recently wrote and this was posted in one of my forums,

The U.S. Delegation to Codex has just issued a formal written
statement to the Codex Alimentarius Commission that the United States,
during the July 4-9, 2005, meeting in Rome, will support compulsory
rules created by this international organization directly overruling
U.S. law regarding access to vitamins.

The U.S. law that is about to be vanquished is the Dietary
Supplement, Health and Education Act of 1994. Codex is a joint venture
between the United Nation's World Health Organization and Food and
Agriculture Organization. (WHO/FAO) The World Trade Organization (WTO)
has already stated that it will enforce Codex "guidelines" as the
world standard for trade in dietary supplements. This will mean that
gradually, pill-by-pill, our access to the dietary supplements we
depend on will disappear.

For those not familiar with the Dietary Supplement Health and
Education Act of 1994, it was passed because 2.5 million ordinary
citizens wanted to make sure dietary supplements such as herbs,
vitamins, minerals and other food-based supplements could stay on the
over-the-counter market. Movement to create this law, known as DSHEA,
started when a 1992 FDA task force published a report announcing the
FDA's desire to remove these products from the shelves as they
represented a "disincentive for patented drug research".

Immediately following this announcement, millions of Americans
learned about how famed vitamin doctor, Jonathan Wright's
patient-filled medical office was raided the same month by nearly
two-dozen gun-toting, flak-jacketed FDA agents in the name of
regulating supplements. Battering down an unlocked office door, these
agents, backed by burly sheriff's department deputies, lined up staff
and patients against the wall, pulled IVs from patients arms in middle
of treatments, confiscated patient records, took the hard drive from
the office computer all because Dr. Jonathan Wright was using
nutritional supplements to heal very sick people who could not get
help from standard allopathic medical care.

As the story developed, it turned out that this Gestapo-style
raid was standard operating procedure for the FDA and as the general
public became aware of just how many doctors' offices, manufacturing
companies, distributors and health food stores had been assaulted by
similar raids, the horror of all this forged a mighty health freedom
army that resulted in unanimous passage of DSHEA.

The idea of the law was two-fold:

  1. DSHEA was to make a clear distinction between FOOD, which is
    considered generally safe and did not need to have permission from the
    FDA to be allowed on the market and DRUGS, which are generally toxic,
    potentially deadly and in need of lengthy evaluation before they were
    available to the public under prescription from a doctor.

  2. DSHEA provides the FDA with plenty of legal authority to
    remove herbs or dietary supplements from the market providing the
    agency has plenty of REAL evidence of REAL harm to the public. The FDA
    also has the authority to limit the amount of a supplement to low
    levels IF the agency has plenty of REAL evidence to prove higher
    levels ARE ACTUALLY dangerous.

The FDA and its Big Pharma backers have never liked DSHEA
because these products and the related natural healing arts services
often related to them are putting the allopathic
drug/surgical/chemical medical industry to shame.

In my book, Death by Modern Medicine, using the allopathic
medical industry's own official reports, I document how 784,000 people
die every year in the American medical system while following doctors'
orders in a highly-regulated allopathic system. The proof that dietary
supplements and the practitioners who promote them are safe and work
as expected is evidenced everywhere. Studies conducted all over the
world have shown that supplements are actually safer than food and
there is simply no hard evidence to show there is ANY risk factor
worthy of discussion, much less needing universal "risk assessment".

Yet, the U.S. Delegation, along with its Big Pharma backers are
bound and determined that Codex force "risk analysis assessments" upon
the American dietary supplement industry so they can bypass the
expressed will of the American people.

The REAL reason for promotion of "risk assessment" is based on
two agendas. First, to be able to strip the over-the-counter
marketplace of everything but low quality, low dose-level products
that won't do much to support or improve health. Second, to set up the
framework to allow Big Pharma to take over the supplement market as a
new form of drugs where prices can be jacked up outrageously and doled
out by doctors for a fee.

More information on codex laws and US SOVEREIGNTY ( that no longer exists) can be found here..
http://www.altered-states.co.nz/cgi-local/reload.cgi?//www.google.com/search?sourceid=mozclient&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&q=us+delegate+to+codex^/hthreat1.htm

Here is a link that might be useful: altered states/codex

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 1:16PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Sounds like pretty standard conspiracy theorist fare, complete with SCARY WARNINGS in CAPITAL LETTERS, references to bogeymen like BIG PHARMA and shrill claims of GESTAPO TACTICS.

And wrong.

If the previously linked references detailing the non-impact of Codex on U.S. consumers aren't enough, maybe the supplement industry itself (which is supposed to be threatened by Codex) will be more convincing. The American Herbal Products Association (a supplement industry trade group) has this to say on its website:

"AHPAs Codex document also provides a table of "Quick Facts on Codex." These include:

The effect of the Codex VMS Guidelines is that the US (and all countries in Codex) will be required to allow the import of all vitamin and mineral supplements that conform to the new guidelines.
Codex can affect a countryÂs domestic laws by forcing them to be relaxed, but only if those laws are more restrictive than a Codex standard or guideline.
The Codex vitamin and mineral guidelines will not have a direct or immediate effect on US domestic law since US law is less restrictive than these Codex guidelines.
When Codex sets maximum levels on vitamins and minerals it will do so based on science.
The rights of American consumers are protected by DSHEA Â and only the US Congress can amend US laws."

Setting aside the dubious claim that DSHEA protects the rights of American consumers (it's more a case of DSHEA protecting the rights of the industry to sell dubious products), the AHPA's take on the situation is the same as that of the FDA, Snopes and other rational observers.

Come July, when supplements don't disappear from the shelves as the dire warnings have suggested, there'll be dead silence from the fear-mongers. At least until the next nonsensical fear campaign can be stoked up.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 5:58PM
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bare4winds

THE FDA IS A JOKE, EVEN AMONG THE PEOPLE WHO WORK THERE!

Here we have two sides of a coin, one is right and one is way off!

United Nation's is codex, The FDA, HAS NO SAY IN WHAT United Nation's DECIDES FOR US AMERICAN'S!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 1:54AM
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bare4winds

The Codex proposals have the backing of Canadian Codex Commission representatives. Further evidence of Canadian involvement is the position of the Canadian Health Protection Branch (HPB) on what is, or is not, a food or a drug. For example, garlic, ginger, licorice and peppermint are considered to be foods when sold as spices. If a grocery store manager makes claims for their therapeutic effects, they then become drugs via an HPB mechanism which remains to be defined.

http://www.iahf.com/world/981101a.html

http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp/2004/07/19/european_directive_on_medicinal_herbs_discriminates_against_china_india_other_cultures.htm

http://www.alliance-natural-health.org/_docs/ANHwebsiteDoc_187.doc

http://www.sdadefend.com/Codex%201.htm

http://codex.sanepid.md/codex.shtml

http://www.alliance-natural-health.org/index.cfm?Action=archive&categoryID=9

http://www.standardprocess.com/lit/Other/05_0727_CodexAndDS.Revised.pdf

http://www.westonaprice.org/federalupdate/aa2005/infoalert_042205.html

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 2:51AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

I haven't seen any changes in supplement availability to American consumers as a result of Codex.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 2:00PM
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