Victory from within Codex
Report by Anthony Rees, Naturopath from South Africa, on his experience at the 24th Session of CODEX Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses in Berlin Germany, November 4-8, 2002
As a Naturopath from South Africa, who has witnessed the pharmaceutical expropriation of natural health in our country up and until 1998, it has become clear that the game plan for the pharmaceutically inspired effort has intensified with the use of so-called representative forums for world health, eg CODEX ALIMENTARIUS.
In an effort to research and expose this agenda, I attended my first Codex meeting. The first thing that struck me as odd was the fact that there was a complete media blackout on the subject of nutritional substance guidelines proposed by the Codex Commission.
On enquiry to the Press Officer of the meeting, I asked why there where only three press representatives and the answer was an arrogant “We did not invite the press this year because there is nothing here of interest for them to report.” I found this ludicrous, considering that there was a marked presence of grass-roots protest action outside the gates of the building where the event was taking place.
Upon meeting with these protesters, it was very clear that the people inside the Codex Commission were oblivious to the thousands of calls from protesters and their organizers around the world. It was as if their messages had fallen upon deaf ears. On enquiring further, members of the delegation in their misinformed mindset came up with various reasons why they thought that the protests were being staged. It was interesting to note that the core of this misinformation campaign was revealed to have its source within the BGVV in an attempt to misdirect the delegates.
It was interesting to note that none of them had any grasp of the issues raised by the people outside, and that it was apparent that a smear campaign had been launched against Dr. Rath and his grass roots movement who have been lobbying for many years about the way Codex is undermining health freedom in the guise of safety, when it is apparent that pharmaceutical profit has been the key motivation for so-called ‘Risk Assessment’ initiatives. What has been striking is the fact that upon investigation I uncovered that the NGO (European NGO’s) groupings and government observers were predominantly comprised of pharmaceutical interests.
Even more insidious was the fact that there were groups and individuals who were present at the meeting who were claiming to have a popular public mandate to represent health freedom, whereas their actions proved to the contrary with them supporting the pharmaceutical models on the table. What makes me sad is the fact that their supporters back home are totally oblivious to their true motives and direct or indirect vested interests in pharmaceutical companies.
On the second day of the meeting I arranged to have my small camera crew enter the meeting during a break, so that we could conduct interviews with the delegates in the interest of transparency. Even with an accredited press pass issued by the BGVV directorate, our crew was abruptly stopped at the gate by security, and I was ushered personally to the secretariat to explain why I did not observe the rules on cameras and recording devices.
As I was attending CODEX for the first time, and for the fact that these rules were never conveyed to me by the secretariat, I saw no reason why press freedom should be discouraged and blatantly censored. Only after threatening a political intervention via my consulate was my camera crew allowed to enter the premises under the strict instruction that I remain outside the building at the hall entrance. (So much for good will) This has left a very bitter taste in my mouth and I find it ludicrous that an event such as this which dictates global policy that affects every human’s health, not be publicized widely. Even though mainstream media have ignored the contentious nature of Codex, it is refreshing that organizations such as the Dr. Rath Health Foundation and various others have highlighted these events.
The meeting itself was a tedious affair with 80% of the time being dedicated to 20% of the issues on the agenda. It is also clear that the fabric of CODEX is disintegrating with more and more opposing views being expressed, and the inability of delegates to agree on most issues. This, in my opinion is a direct result of pressure from protest actions, although none would admit this fact.
What is encouraging is the fact that it is rumored that Dr. Rolf Grossklaus, who is the Chair of the CODEX meeting, and his institution, namely the BGVV in Berlin will no longer be the host of future Codex meetings. This was echoed by one of the BGVV secretariat, who also admitted that the new South African approach to Codex had shifted from the principal pharmaceutical models towards a model that encourages freedom of choice and acknowledges the population’s right to free access to nutritional substances on the basis of prevention of chronic diseases. Being a South African I am proud that our Food Control Directorate has made this monumental paradigm shift from the concept of disease management to true Health Care, as its ailing population of HIV sufferers requires these substances desperately. It is days like this that I am proud to be South African.
Although the issue of dietary supplements was only dealt with, during the last thirty minutes of the meeting, due to the chairman’s obvious stalling tactics, it was a great sigh of relief when South Africa placed this rock in the path of the pharmaceutical agenda. It is without doubt that many people will be pleased that this process remains at step 3. With no progress being forthcoming towards the restrictions of natural health substances, it is evident that the Health Movement has been victorious, and that this is solid proof why we all have to remain vigilant and continue to invoke our rights to health freedom as individuals and organizations.