By Dr. Joseph Mercola on 10/30/2010
Even though I generally believe many people take far too many supplements, and that supplements are a poor substitute for improving your diet, it is clear that some supplements are highly beneficial. And supplements in general are clearly safer “band-aids” when compared to expensive and potentially toxic drugs.
That said, in order for all of us to take responsibility for our own health, I believe we must never lose the right to choose and buy nutritional supplements.
A HIGHLY URGENT Message...
Unfortunately, your health freedom is being encroached upon at this very moment.
The European Union stands poised to enact into law a directive that may have a devastating impact on Europeans’ freedom of choice in regard to supplements, and practitioners of ancient medical modalities such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, may lose their ability to prescribe traditional herbal remedies.
And once the EU enacts this law, I can strongly assure you the United States will not be far behind.
I usually urge my American readers to take action, but in this case, the action call at the end of this article goes out to all my European readers.
Please be sure and distribute this information to your family, friends and social networks and ask them to join you in taking action as well.
The Restrictive EU Herbal Directive Poised to Become Law Next Year
As described in a recent article by AlternativeHealthzine.com, the European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products (THMPD) was enacted back in March 2004, and will become law as of April 1, 2011, but the groundwork was laid well before:
“In 1998 or so the EU said they had received a large number of complaints from companies who said that it was difficult to sell their herbal products in other member countries.
So, as the EU does, they said: “Let's harmonize herbal regulations in all EU countries.”
This approach has some merit. If everyone follows the same rules in every country, it is easier for products to be sold in each country – rather than exporters having to accommodate different rules in every country. So, it's OK for exporters.”
In essence, this Directive creates new rules and regulations for herbal products and nutritional supplements that were previously traded freely. Any supplier within the EU who wants to sell their product to another European country will need to get a license for each and every supplement they sell.
In fact, under this Directive, all supplements and herbal preparations must go through the same licensing procedure as pharmaceutical drugs.
In TCM and Ayurvedic formulas that contain a number of herbs, each herb would have to be licensed separately.
The cost alone will undoubtedly drive most supplement makers and herbal manufacturers off the market. According to GaiaHealth, the estimated cost per nutrient or herb ranges from £80,000 to £120,000 (around $126,700 to $190,000).
It will take a mass public outcry of epic proportions to stop this draconian rule.
Fortunately the process has already been started. The Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-I) is challenging the THMPD, and according to NutraIngredients.com, the ANH is prepared to take the case to the European Court of Justice.
But they will need your help, so please review the action items at the end of this article.
As stated above, this encroachment on your personal freedom stems from the fact that companies want to be allowed to trade freely between countries, without having to comply with each country’s individual requirements.
But it’s also part and parcel of the grander scheme that is the Codex Alimentarius.
What is Codex Alimentarius?
The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created in 1962, through a series of relationships between The World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the American FDA and USDA.
The "Codex Alimentarius" itself is a compilation of food standards, codes of practice and guidelines that specify all requirements related to foods, whether processed, semi-processed, genetically engineered, or raw.
Their purpose is to protect consumers' health, ensure fair business practices within the food trade, and eliminate international food trade barriers by standardizing food quality.
This sounds all well and good, but there are major problems with the strategies they use to “keep you safe.”
Codex Uses Toxicology to Assess Nutrients
There are many problems with Codex, many of which are not immediately recognizable unless you have the proper perspective. But one of the most bizarre and potentially dangerous issues is their Vitamin and Mineral Guideline, finalized on July 4, 2005, which classifies nutrients as toxins.
Yes. This is what you end up with when you use Risk Assessment to assess the safety of nutrients.
Risk Assessment is a branch of Toxicology, also known as the science of toxins. In a sane world, it is used to assess how much of a toxic substance you can safely consume without noticing any physical effects or problems. As soon as there is a biological effect, you have hit the upper, maximum limit for that substance.
Codex Alimentarius has, slowly but surely, been shimmying into position to mandate the universal maximum "safe" level of every vitamin, mineral, supplement and herb that may legally be manufactured, used or sold -- with "safe" being a level that has no physical effect.
However, this is not a cut-and-dry process. It’s been going on for nearly 50 years, and it will likely take many more years before all their plans are completed. See, the Codex agenda is inched forward, one piece of legislation at a time, at different times, in various countries.
However, in the end, we can never take our eyes off the final goal, with is global “harmonization” with Codex’ insanely restrictive rules and flawed ideas about nutrition. And the EU herbal directive is likely an important piece of this giant jigsaw puzzle.
Once this directive takes full effect, a vast majority of herbs and supplements will vanish from the market simply due to prohibitive cost of testing and licensing.
Whatever is left will most likely, in the end, become restricted to doses that have no beneficial impact on health whatsoever, under the Codex Vitamin and Mineral guideline...
You Can Take Action Now!
If you value your access to herbs, vitamins and other nutritional supplements, please do not remain on the sidelines.
The Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-I) and the European Benefyt Foundation (EBF) are actively fighting to stop the implementation of the EU Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD).
You can download their joint position paper here.
The following Action Steps were provided by Gaia Health:
1. If you live in Europe, please send a letter or call your Member of the European Parliament.
You can determine who your MEP is, and get his or her contact information here.
Tell your MEP that you support the ANH and want the implementation of THMPD suspended. Ask your representative to take a stand in support of your right to choose herbal treatments and your right to buy nutritional supplements.
To make it faster and easier for you, the ANH via Gaia Health offers this prewritten sample letter, which you can modify and individualize to your own liking. There is also a Spanish version, provided by Denice Delay for Gaia Health.
2. For further information, you may contact:
· The Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-I) Sophie Middleton (campaign administrator), tel +44(0)1306 646 600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
· The European Benefyt Foundation (EBF) Chris Dhaenens or Harrie Sandhövel, Tel +31 320 251 313 or email: email@example.com
Unfortunately, I do not have any action items for my American readers, other than to stay vigilant and become involved in any and all legislation that pertains to your right to supplements and natural organic food in the US.
Ditto for all of you who live in Canada.
Hopefully, the EU will stop this assault on our freedom to choose, which will make it more difficult to enact similar types of legislation here in the US.