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The FSA should reject Codex regulation – BLATANT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION

Comment 13th July 2010

 

This is a call for the Food Standards Agency to REJECT the regulation outlaid by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and drop all use of its legislation.

( http://www.food.gov.uk/foodindustry/regulation/Codexbranch/ )

Description: The Codex Alimentarius is a threat to the freedom of people to choose natural healing and alternative medicine and nutrition.

 

‘IN BRIEF’ SECTION:

The Codex Alimentarius regulation standards being proposed affect lobal food standards and prohibit ability to manage our health naturally. These are some of the attributes the Codex Alimentarius paradigm is bringing.


Genetically modified (GM) food;

·      Driven by GM interests which argue world food requirements cannot be met without global implementation of GM.

·      Led by USA and Canada; EU may cave to pressure.

·      GM food plants being given the green light on safety.

·      Terminator’ seeds could be approved for international trade.

·      GM food animals are on the way.

Organic food;

·      ‘Dumbing-down’ of organic standards to suit interests of large food producers.

·      Promotion of large-scale, high-input agriculture and international freight.

·      Approval of various synthetic chemical additives and ‘processing aids’ in organic foods.

·      No outright ban on use of irradiation post-production.

·      Labelling allows use of hidden, non-organic ingredients

Food additives;

·      Approval as safe around 300 different food additives (mainly synthetic) including aspartame, BHA, BHT, potassium bromate, tartrazine, etc.

·      No consideration given to potential risks associated with long-term exposure to mixtures of additives

Pesticide residues;

·      Allows significant residues of over 3,275 different pesticides, including those that are suspected carcinogens or endocrine disruptors, e.g. 2,4-D, atrazine, methyl bromide.

·      No account taken of long-term effects of exposure to mixtures of residues in food.

Food/dietary supplements;

·      Setting very low maximum daily doses for supplements using scientifically flawed risk assessment methods.

·      Effectively establishing international borderline between foods and drugs for nutrients, forcing therapeutic nutrients into drug category.

·      Requirement for clinical trials to substantiate health claims; too expensive for small companies. Therefore provides passport system for big corporations and acts as obstacle to freedom of speech for smaller ones.

·      Setting of unnecessarily low Nutrient Reference Values which seriously understate requirements for long-term optimum health for given sub-populations, age groups and genders

 

 

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is responsible for establishing a system of guidelines, standards and recommendations that guide the direction of the global food supply. It aims to tell us what is safe, but in the process often uses criteria that are manipulated to support the interests of the world’s largest corporations.

Why does this matter?

 

What is it?

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, Latin for 'food code', is an inter-governmental body that sets guidelines and standards to ensure ‘fair trade practices’ and consumer protection in relation to the global trade of food. 

It was established for this purpose in 1963 so has more than 40 years’ experience controlling food in an ever-more globalized world. It has over 170 member countries within the framework of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Codex Alimentarius Commission has signed agreements with the WTO by which Codex creates trade standards that the WTO uses to resolve international trade disputes.

Its primary stated purpose is “protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair practices in the food trade.” The Commission also promotes coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations (INGO’s).

Admirable, some might say, but of course, just how are governments in Codex protecting health, based on what criteria and — what exactly is meant by ‘fair trade practices’?

 

How it works?

Well, it’s certainly got nothing to do with the fair trade movement that aims to support farmers and producers in developing countries while promoting sustainability. It’s much more about a system of guidelines and standards that work to the advantage of the largest global food suppliers and producers. In such company, inevitably, small producers and suppliers get left out in the cold — as do small governments that disagree with the thrust of some of the decisions made under the Codex banner. 

The guidelines and standards are used as a benchmark for regional/national legislation and in World Trade Orgaization (WTO) disputes. Work is conducted through nearly 30 committees, each dealing with specific areas of food, and decisions are based on consensus voting by member countries. INGO’s do not have voting rights, but may influence proceedings. Most INGO’s present at Codex meetings represent transnational corporation interests. 

There is no doubt that Codex develops the prime system of guidance for the global food supply. Whether we’re looking at the amounts of pesticide residues or particular micro-organisms that are considered safe, the amount of gluten allowed in gluten-free foods, transport and storage systems for fresh fruit and vegetables or the safety of food additives or genetically modified (GM) crops, the particular Codex guideline or standard related to the issue is viewed as the key benchmark for international trade.

One of the trends we see, given the disproportionate influence of very large corporate concerns, is that GM foods, contaminants, additives, pesticide residues and other synthetic chemicals that many of us regard as intrinsically harmful, are pushed for all they’re worth, being deemed safe at those concentrations typically used in processed foods. On the other hand, those things we consider intrinsically beneficial, such as vitamins and minerals, are given a very tough ride. If that weren’t enough, Codex standards for healthy food production systems such as organic production systems, are being increasingly degraded in order to suit theneeds and interests of the transnational corporations which are the key beneficiaries of the global food trade.

 

What this means for the public?

We’ve established so far that the Codex Alimentarius Commission is the prevailing mechanism that dictates the rules governing the global trade of food. We’ve also established that the WTO is the ‘policeman’ that ensures these rules are abided by. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether these rules are good for us, the people, and whether they are good for the environment. The system has few winners — the main ones being the transnational corporations being directly involved in the global production and trade of food and the pharmaceutical industry that profits from the increasing chronic disease burden that results.

One of the key characteristics of the contemporary global food trade is its simplicity and lack of diversity. The nutritional content and quality of foods is a low priority. Food hygiene as a means of controlling pathogens that cause food borne illness (a very real and persistent threat to health) is a key priority but methods for managing such pathogens, such as the use of irradiation or large quantities of preservatives, deplete the integrity and quality of the food. The increasing use of GMO's, which are endorsed by Codex, is a huge problem both in terms of the effects on human health, and the environment.  

Ironically, when it comes to Codex assessments of the safety of nutrients, hey do take into account the nutrients consumed in the diet and substract these from the lowest amounts they consider safe using multiple safety factors and selective, worse-case scientific data. The end result?  Codex-compliant food supplements containing diddly-squat of life-saving micronutrients. 

Dr Bruce Ames, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley, and a Senior Scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), is one of many scientists who have long argued, on the basis of ample scientific evidence, that micronutrient deficiencies, associated with modern western diets, are one of the most important factors in the epidemic of chronic diseases. These diseases include the ‘Big 5’: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis, which now contribute to the greatest burden on our healthcare systems.

Codex, and regulatory regimes based on it, undoubtedly present one of the greatest threats to any healthcare system which seeks to deal with the fundamental causes of disease by addressing micronutrient intakes.

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