From the April 2005 Idaho Observer:
An overview of Codex and the mindset of those who seek to control us
By Carolyn Dean, MD, NA
There is a groundswell of concern in North America and Britain because of the efforts of an organization called "Codex Alimentarius" to regulate food and food supplements for the World Trade Organization (WTO). Codex Alimentarius, from the Latin, meaning "Food Law," is usually referred to simply as "Codex."
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) jointly established Codex in 1962 to help advise nations on food standards for consumer protection. Peter Helgason and I attended the 26th Session of the International Codex Commission in Bonn, Germany, November, 2004, on behalf of the health freedom group, Friends of Freedom.
It was at the Bonn conference that we met a 30-year employee of Codex who told us that, in 1995, the World Trade Organization took over Codex undermining its original intent. It was no longer in the hands of the 165 member nations of the WHO but in the hands of trade organizations in the 148 countries of the WTO who seem intent on standardizing everything to do with international trade in our emerging global economy.
According to complex world trade agreements, which corporations and governments have created with very little public input or support, the decisions of Codex override national and local laws.
The main issue for health consumers is how Codex rules will affect our access to "food supplements." In countries where supplements are classified as drugs, Codex apparently does not interfere, which sends a strong message to member countries to regulate their supplements as drugs while leaving the rest of the world to fend for itself.
In countries where supplements are still classified as food, Codex is developing what appears to be stringent rules in order to govern the so-called safety of these products exactly along the lines used for drugs. As a result, dietary supplements actually end up in the same regulatory scheme as pharmaceutical drugs.
Food and supplement quality and purity are legitimate avenues for governments to regulate. However, Codex is setting limits on the amount of supplements that an individual consumer can purchase without a prescription. Codex is telling people, by regulatory association, that dietary supplements are as dangerous as pharmaceutical drugs.
Discrediting Dietary Supplements
Codex views the use of vitamins as dangerous substances that are only safe to use when the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is observed. If this continues we will be less able to treat the current epidemic of chronic vitamin deficiency diseases [see page 10].
In the last year you may have noted a number of headlines announcing that this or that vitamin is dangerous or shortens life in a particular research study. All these studies, when reviewed, have serious flaws, or have mysteriously reached the opposite conclusion of the actual study results.
This appears to be a pervasive policy to discredit supplements and scare legislators and the public into accepting supplement regulations. An objective review of credible science, medical literature and anecdotal evidence over the last 100 years proves that properly-prepared dietary supplements are not dangerous.
Health freedom advocates such as Trueman Tuck, founder of Friends of Freedom (www.friendsoffreedom.com) in Canada; John Hammell, founder of International Advocates for Health Freedom (www.iahf.com), Suzanne Harris JD, of The Law Loft, and Diane M Miller JD, executive director of the National Health Freedom Coalition (www.nationalhealthfreedom.org) in the U.S., have been tracking the development Codex for years. They all agree that the Codex agenda for dietary supplements has been heavily influenced by the powerful international pharmaceutical lobby.
"Big Pharma" has enjoyed a "medicine" monopoly for many decades. The public, however, is becoming aware of the dangers of modern medicine as extensively documented in my book "Death by Modern Medicine."
Destroying the supplements trade
Big Pharma does not want to lose its lucrative monopoly and is lobbying governments and Codex for restrictive legislation on the supplement industry and simultaneously, systematically, and silently buying up supplement companies to maintain control of the medicine market.
I have witnessed this happening in Canada. When practicing traditional medicine in Toronto from 1979-1991, I watched the birth and rise of the traditional health movement in Canada. In recent years the owners of supplement companies have become increasingly "regulated" by the government—which means little more than paying tens of thousands of dollars in fees to obtain licenses to sell products. Small companies are being forced out of business—or forced to sell to companies with deeper pockets, many of which are silently owned by large pharmaceutical companies.
The larger supplement companies, whether independently owned or a possession of Big Pharma, can afford these registration fees. As the marketplace becomes serviced by fewer and fewer supplement suppliers, those remaining display corporate mentalities more interested in profits than the health and well-being of their customers.
Sadly, the government seems to be controlled by "big business" and has adopted an attitude regarding the subject of dietary supplements that we call "legislating and legalizing corporate greed."
Codex and GMOs
At the November, 2004 Codex meeting in Bonn, when delegates raised important concerns such as whether or not genetically-modified (GM) foods would be approved for infant formula, they were told, "Another committee is handling that issue."
One would think that a simple, "Of course not," should have been the appropriate answer to that valid question.
The implication is that Codex is actually intending to allow infant formula to contain GM ingredients.
That which is not specifically regulated is banned
A question by a non-governmental organization (NGO) delegate about the inclusion of provitamins and vitamin-like substances brought the following answer from the chair. "We first wanted to discuss vitamins and minerals. In the future, in 10-20 years time, we will have to discuss physiological plant substances."
The implication here is clear, particularly in light of how the EU Food Supplement Directive is being interpreted in the U.K.: "That which is not approved is banned."
In 2004, the U.K. government, against the wishes of its citizens, agreed to accept the EU Food Supplement Directive as law. This law will, in effect, ban about 300 of the 420 forms of vitamins and minerals present in around 5,000 products currently sold in the U.K.
The governments of Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden are currently entertaining notions of burdening their people with the EU Food Supplement Directive in their respective countries. The directive is a likely model for the type of dietary supplement restrictions Codex intends to systematically implement worldwide.
The UK Battles the EU to Keep Supplements
In retrospect, it appears that government agencies of many nations have been on a common track for decades to categorize supplements as drugs and regulate them accordingly. Australia, Denmark and Germany have essentially rendered over-the-counter dietary supplements impotent by regulating them as drugs and drastically limiting the amounts that may be sold without a prescription from a licensed physician.
Working to declare this measure illegal is the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (www.alliance-natural-health.org) led by executive director, Dr. Rob Verkerk, Ph.D. ANH is a pan-European coalition of supplement manufacturers, retailers, independent health practitioners, and consumers. On October 13, 2004, ANH filed a lawsuit to force a European judicial review of the EU Food Supplement Directive, which is slated to be fully operational in the U.K. by August 2005.1
Regarding the lawsuit, Dr. Verkerk said, "This is a groundbreaking challenge to another intrusive ban and unwanted EU directive which we aim to demonstrate has been passed unlawfully from the EU into U.K. law. We believe that it will rob the consumer of the right to buy important nutritional supplements to improve their diet and health and that of their children, as well as putting hundreds of small businesses and the livelihoods of thousands at risk. There is absolutely no justification for this ban and we aim to get it removed."
Dr. Verkerk, ANH, and their supporters are extremely concerned that this draconian measure will ban specific ingredients including natural forms of vitamin E, found in wheat germ, and organically-bound minerals like selenocysteine, found in Brazil nuts. In addition, the directive aims to ban nearly all important trace elements used in supplements, including boron (necessary for bone production) and vanadium (useful in blood sugar regulation).
Especially targeted for elimination, according to Dr. Verkerk, are high-quality products made from natural ingredients, whereas synthetic vitamins and inorganic minerals, typically pervasive in multivitamin and mineral products found in supermarkets and pharmacies, will not be affected by the ban. These low-quality products are the nutrient forms approved by the EU directive. In Bonn, the only multiple that we could find was Centrum, the synthetic multiple made by Wyeth Pharmaceutical company which, as any hospital nurse will tell you, usually lands in the bedpan with a thud, fully intact.
Dr. Verkerk adds that another effect of the EU legislation is that many small companies who research, produce, and market safe and effective food supplements will be unable to sell them without investing huge sums of money to "prove" their safety. This, despite the fact that people have been consuming most of these food-based nutrients for hundreds of years without being associated with any risk to human health.
On the Codex front, Dr. Verkerk has produced a brilliant paper to counter the attempt by Codex to devise the amount of supplements allowed to be sold on the world market based on risk analysis.2 As my book has cited repeatedly, there is no real or perceived health risk from consuming quality dietary supplements. In most instances, they are safer than our current food chain, yet the Codex machine pushes on trying to say they are unsafe and need to be limited and regulated.
Note: You can read Dr. Verkerk’s 35-page submission to the FAO/WHO Nutrient Risk Assessment Project on behalf of the Natural Health Alliance at the link provided in footnote (2).
It is the same nonsense that is happening in Canada and is soon to happen in the U.S. as regulators turn up the heat while spreading rumors about how dangerous supplements are. It’s time to turn to the back pages of Death by Modern Medicine, while joining consumer groups, writing letters, and lobbying your representatives in Parliament, or Congress.
North America must hang tough
In the U.S. dietary supplements are currently regulated under a food designation according Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act (DSHEA) of1994. This act is extremely crucial to health freedom in both the U.S. and Canada.
The priority for Americans at this time is to protect and expand DSHEA. The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that passed specific legislation to protect public access to food-based medicine.
The second focus for Americans should be to support Canada’s health freedom movement. In Canada, health freedom advocates are pushing for passage of C-420—a bill that would reinstate the designation of supplements as "foods."
Supplements came under attack by Big Pharma and its friends in public office in the mid 90s. Where Americans managed to pass DSHEA in 1994, Canada temporarily saved its supplements but didn’t pass an act like DSHEA. But then, on January 1, 2004, dietary supplements became "drugs" in Canada via regulatory fiat, not procedural passage of a law.
Canada’s new drug category is bad news for dietary supplement manufacturers in the U.S. who want to trade with Canada. This development may be providing additional pressure on the U.S. to implement a drug category for dietary supplements to be compliant with free trade agreements.
If Canada’s dietary supplements are forced to stay in the drug category then the U.S. will stand alone in the world as a major Western country with food-based supplements. We must expand our "beachhead" so that Canada and the U.S. work together for our right to freedom of choice in health care.
The third focus is for North America to support the U.K. as it fights the EU Food Supplement Directive. By working together, we can effectively overturn Codex.
The Delphi Technique at Codex
The Delphi Technique was created to help group "facilitators" effectively "dialogue" groups of people to a "consensus." This technique is used to manipulate participants of a group into reaching a pre-determined decision. Education activist Lynn Stuter explained the Delphi Technique in her 1998 article, "Using the Delphi Technique to Achieve Consensus." 3 "In group settings, the Delphi Technique is an unethical method of achieving consensus on controversial topics. It requires well-trained professionals, known as ‘facilitators’ or ‘change agents’, who deliberately escalate tension among group members, pitting one faction against another to make a preordained viewpoint appear ‘sensible’, while making opposing views appear ridiculous."
Other aspects of implementing Delphi are to ask questions that divert the group’s attention away from core issues about which people may be justifiably concerned.
If everything goes the way of the facilitator intended, the group reaches "consensus" without a vote. Voting is a dangerous eventuality that must be avoided to prevent the possibility that a strong member who disagrees with the facilitator would sway the group away from achieving the planned outcome of the meeting.
Stuter also noted that widespread use of this "consensus building" technique is "leading us away from representative government….[and into]….an illusion of citizen participation."
I was unfamiliar with this method of psychological manipulation until I went as a delegate to the meeting of Codex Alimentarius in Bonn, Germany.
At Codex the word "consensus" was used constantly and no vote was ever taken. The chairman would somehow determine that, voila, we have achieved consensus and move onto the next topic.
Delegates had to be quick to press their buttons in order to take exception to his ruling. But, as I found out later, the chairman could very easily ignore a request for the floor. There were stories of delegates yelling out to be heard that ended with the delegate being immediately removed from the room and banned from future Codex meetings. Punishment at Codex is swift.
When Peter Helgason, VP of Regulatory Affairs for Friends of Freedom, who also attended the Bonn meeting, told me the Chairman was using the Delphi Technique, it all clicked into place. I could see exactly what he was doing: Discredit the opposition with lies until they get so hysterical at being lied about and lied to that they scream at the chairman. Then he has won by being able to denounce the opposition for being hysterical. It’s used all the time—and it works.
One of the most frightening episodes I witnessed at Codex was when an NGO delegate from a group supporting breastfeeding spoke. Her request to speak was recognized by the chair. She stood up and said that her organization did not want to see bottle formula advertised in developing nations. As she recalled the deaths caused in Africa by mothers abandoning breastfeeding for the bottle the chairman quickly (and emotionally in my opinion) cut her off and accused her of bringing emotion into the meeting. He said this was an issue of labeling and not of emotion. He humiliated her and her point of view and, as is common with the Delphi Technique, tried to make her appear ridiculous. His actions certainly escalated the tension in me!
Much of what I observed that week in Bonn revealed the total lack of respect and the blatant disregard for the human race displayed by the Codex commissioners "facilitating" that meeting. Codex is completely controlled by the WTO—an entity whose sole purpose is binding governments to trade agreements that supercede national laws in an effort to maximize corporate profits—human and environmental health be damned.
Disrupting the Delphi
There are ways to diffuse this technique when you see it being used by Delphi "facilitators." Lynn Stuter gives the following three simple steps.
1. Always be charming, courteous, and pleasant. Smile. Moderate your voice so as not to come across as belligerent or aggressive.
2. Stay focused. If possible, jot down your thoughts or questions. When facilitators are asked questions they don’t want to answer, they often digress from the issue that was raised and try instead to put the questioner on the defensive. Do not fall for this tactic. Courteously bring the facilitator back to your original question. If he rephrases it so that it becomes an accusatory statement (a popular tactic), simply say, "That is not what I asked. What I asked was . . ." and repeat your question.
3. Be persistent. If putting you on the defensive doesn’t work, facilitators often resort to long monologues that drag on for several minutes. During that time, the group usually forgets the question that was asked, which is the intent. Let the facilitator finish. Then with polite persistence state: "But you didn’t answer my question. My question was . . ." and repeat your question.
Never become angry. Their key to success is to make you angry, which makes the facilitator the victim and you become the bad guy.
Stuter says facilitators work to achieve group consensus by trying to make the majority of the group members like them, and alienating anyone who might pose a threat to the realization of their agenda. People with firm, fixed beliefs and not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, are obvious threats.
On the other hand, if the facilitator seems to be directly putting down a participant then the participant becomes a victim and the facilitator loses face and favor with the crowd. Sometimes you can goad a facilitator into becoming mad at you. She says this is why in many forums now crowds are broken up into groups of seven or eight, and objections are written on paper rather than voiced aloud where they can be open to public discussion and debate. It’s a form of crowd control.
At a meeting, if you have two or three people who know the Delphi Technique dispersed throughout the crowd, when the facilitator digresses from a question, they can stand up and politely say: "But you didn’t answer that lady/gentleman’s question."
The facilitator may suspect certain group members are working together but he knows better than to alienate the crowd by making accusations. Stuter claims it sometimes only takes one incident of this type for the crowd to figure out what is going on.
Read up on the Delphi Technique and think of all the times you have seen situations controlled by this process. It is important for us to refuse to be controlled by such tactics, ever again. The following reference is for a woman, Beverly Eakman, whose books and seminars teach us how to avoid group manipulation.4
1. Join Friends of Freedom International, our international organization committed to getting delegates to Codex that will demand human person’s rights and not just artificial person’s rights (corporations). Read about our Canadian work at www.friendsoffreedom.org, and go to www.friendsoffreedominternational.org. Click on membership. Join and donate generously to send delegates from developing nations, such as Trueman Tuck, Peter Helgason, Diane Miller and Carolyn Dean to Codex.
2. Read Death by Modern Medicine at www.deathbymodernmedicine.com to educate yourself and anyone you know about Codex, the war on dietary supplements, and what you can do to stop this nonsense. Monies from the sale of this book will go to help fund the health freedom movement.
References available upon requestAn overview of Codex and the mindset of those who seek to control us by Carolyn Dean MD, NDCopies of Death by Modern Medicine, by Dr. Carolyn Dean and Truman Tuck are available for $30 (incl. s/h). Send check or MO to:
Tuck’s Discount Vitamins USA
933 Woodside Dr., Suite 202, Carson City, NV 89701
To order by credit card call Toll Free (877) 882-8825.
20% of the proceeds from all book sales will benefit the Friends of Freedom International in their ongoing battle against the WTO and Codex being implemented in the U.S. and internationally.
It is quite apparent to those who have been following Codex and attending their meetings, such as Trueman Tuck, Peter Helgason, and Dr. Carolyn Dean of Friends of Freedom (www.friendsoffreedom.com) in Canada; John Hammell founder of International Advocates for Health Freedom http://www.iahf.com , Suzanne Harris JD, of The Law Loft, Diane M Miller JD executive director of the National Health Freedom Coalition (www.nationalhealthfreedom.org Suzan Walter of the American Holistic Health Association (www.ahha.org), and Scott Tipps of the National Health Federation (www.thenhf.com) in the U.S.; Paul Taylor in the UK for the National Health Federation; and Tamara Theresa Mosegard from the organization May Day in Denmark that the Codex agenda for dietary supplements is that of the pharmaceutical companies. Scott Tipps, legal counsel for the National Health Federation has been attending Codex meetings for about five years and manages to have a voice at Codex because his group is a recognized NGO. In most meetings, the NHF is the lone voice supporting health freedom.
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