Why are so many people upset about the Codex Guidelines? Should you be concerned?
Important background data: There are two opposing factions in the world for defining the role of dietary supplements.
Some countries that believe dietary supplements:
Other countries believe dietary supplements:
This latter faction appears to have initiated drafting the Guidelines, and has been successful in including restrictive elements into this regulation to be imposed on the pro-supplement faction.
An increasing number of individuals are very concerned that the terms in the Codex Draft Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements are a serious threat to continued free access to dietary supplements of choice. They believe
1) Guidelines PREAMBLE
2) Guidelines SCOPE 1.3
3) Guidelines COMPOSITION 3.1.1
4) Guidelines COMPOSITION 3.2.2 (a)
(1) “upper safe levels of vitamins and minerals established by scientific risk assessment based on generally accepted scientific data” However, there is no designation as to what risk assessment protocol is to be used. There is a high probability that it will be what is developed by a FAO/WHO expert panel which met in May 2005 with the assignment to define a scientifically-based nutrient risk assessment. Since this panel was convened under the auspices of The International Programme on Chemical Safety, many anticipate that when the report is issued we will find that dietary supplements were inappropriately handled as toxic substances. more…
(2) “the daily intake of vitamins and minerals from other dietary sources” This means that whatever upper limits are set for each vitamin and mineral by the risk assessment process, these limits will be further lowered to make allowances for amounts estimated to be found in the food consumed each day.
(3) “taking into consideration, as appropriate, the varying degrees of sensitivity of different consumer groups” This criterium means that the upper limits can be still further lowered.
Some individuals are very concerned that the manipulation and/or selective use of scientific “facts” and/or the cumulative reductions could result in the upper limits allowed in a supplement product being set very low. more…
5) CCNFSDU not informed of WTO use of Guidelines
Many foresee that finalized Guidelines could be used by a future WTO Dispute Settlement Panel to find a country whose dietary supplement regulations are not the same as the Guidelines guilty of not being in harmony with international trade standards. If the United States were found guilty in such a case, then the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) laws would have to be changed to be more restrictive (eliminating availability of a number of dietary supplement products) or the U.S. would have to pay huge trade sanctions each year. Historically, the U.S. has changed its laws when required by the WTO. As WTO Dispute Settlement panels tends to level the trade playing field, this scenario looms as a possibility. more…
To provide you a variety of perspectives on the Guidelines issue, AHHA has compiled a list of organizations active in Codex and Guidelines-related matters. They are highlighted in the Guidelines Pro and Con section of this site.