Archives | (June 2002) Printer FriendlyAn Out Of Control Bureaucracy Threatens Public Health (cont.)
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The proposal also stipulated a number of specific restrictions on vitamin and mineral sales and promotion including:
Strict controls on potency, limiting the amount of a vitamin or mineral in any formulation to pre-determined “safe” maximum levels. For example, Vitamin C could not be sold in potencies greater than 200 mg. Vitamin E would be limited to 45 international units (IU) and Vitamin B1 would be limited to 2.4 mg. All of these are far below potencies commonly sold in the United States today.
There would be an outright ban on any health claims related to vitamins or minerals even if they are true. For example advertising could not claim that taking calcium helps prevent osteoporosis, or that Folic Acid helps prevent certain birth defects.
Even though a doctor’s prescription would be required for all vitamins and minerals, they could not be used for the prevention or treatment of disease other than vitamin deficiency.
If you think that this is such an extreme proposal it would never be adopted, think again. In 1997 it was only a last-minute blitz by consumer advocates that prevented passage of those very dietary supplement restrictions by the Codex and the matter remains under consideration even now.
But it may not be necessary for the Codex rules to be adopted in order to shut down the supplement industry. A recent action in Europe – spearheaded, of course by Germany – holds out the prospect of such restrictions reaching U.S. shores through another avenue: the World Trade Organization, or (WTO). To understand how this could happen, you need to know what has already taken place in Europe.
On November 1st 1993, the European Union was established to create a single market among the various nations of continental Europe and Great Britain. Over the past decade, what was intended as a means of facilitating trade has evolved into a massive bureaucracy that issues an average of 3,500 “directives,” each year. These “directives” are, for all practical purposes, laws, that are binding on all EU members. Many of them are aimed at regulating foodstuffs. In fact, EU bureaucrats have issued directives covering everything from the number of holes in Swiss Cheese to the maximum frying temperature for oils. While many might be shrugged off as silly, the directive concerning dietary supplements is no laughing matter.
In March of 2002, the European Union (EU) passed the “European Union Directive on Dietary Supplements.” It was pushed by – you guessed it – Germany! Under this new law, vitamins and other dietary supplements are treated as though they are drugs! That, however, is just the start.