By Foster Gamble
Danger: International Food Code Threatens Consumer Health and Protection
- Henry Kissinger
Have you ever heard of the Codex Alimentarius Commission? If not, you’re not alone. Most people are unaware of this powerful trade commission, but it is a key organization that sets international food standards for all food products, including vitamin and mineral food supplements; health claims; organic foods; genetically modified foods; food labeling; advertising; food additives and pesticide residues. These regulations impact everyone’s health and will likely determine the future of food and agriculture.
Codex was created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) “to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in food trade.” When I investigated further, however, I found that it protects the interests of pharmaceutical and chemical industries and threatens consumer access to healthy, organic food and natural remedies, such as vitamins and minerals.
Codex regulations influence food laws around the world. The World Trade Organization looks to Codex as an international reference standard to resolve disputes. Codex claims to be voluntary, but it is actually widely used and adopted, giving it significant power in the international food policy arena.
What are the risks of Codex and how is it benefitting the pharmaceutical, chemical, and oil companies?
- Codex guidelines promote pharmaceutical drugs – Codex guidelines claim that pharmaceutical drugs are the only effective means of preventing, alleviating, treating, and curing disease. Codex does not recognize natural remedies. This serves to protect and subsidize the drug industry.
- Codex does not protect consumers from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) – Despite scientific evidence that GMOs are harmful to human health and the environment, they are still considered acceptable under Codex, and they are not required to be labeled.The WHO, FAO, and Codex have formed an Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnologies to develop GMO standards. They currently take no precautions to prevent dangerous GMOs from entering the food supply. This is convenient for multinational biotechnology companies such as Monsanto, who need to be able to sell their products on a global market. It also benefits oil companies – many of which are owned by the banking elite – because GMO crops require heavy input of petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides.
- The Codex Committee on Food Labeling is attempting to water down global organic standards – The Codex meeting in Ottawa in May of 2006 revealed that the Food Labeling Committee was considering allowing potentially carcinogenic substances as additives for use in organic food production. They included sulfur dioxide, which is known to cause allergic reactions in some people; sodium nitrite, which does not occur naturally, as a color retention agent; carrageenan which may cause ulcers and cancerous tumors; “natural sodium nitrate” which is also potentially carcinogenic; and ethylene, which is used to ripen fruit and vegetables in transport. This goes against Codex’s stated mission to “protect the health of consumers.”
Given these policies, it appears Codex is working for pharmaceutical and chemical companies, rather than for the people and our health.
Opportunity: We Can Set Our Own Food Standards and Ensure Healthy Options
There are a variety of ways to oppose Codex. Here are some ideas:
Pass National Laws to Protect Nutritional Supplements – In 1994 Americans got Congress to pass the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) which classified nutritional supplements as food and prohibited dosage restrictions. This law takes precedence over Codex regulations. Other countries can do the same to make sure they have open access to vitamins and supplements.
Create GMO-Free Zones – We can stop Codex from allowing GMOs into our communities by setting up GMO-Free zones. This has already been done in India, Italy, and a number of other places. Visit our Critical Mass Action page to learn more about it.
Write Your Own Food Laws at the Local Level – An organization called the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund trains community organizers how to write their own laws to defend their rights and benefit local residents. They have had many successful campaigns to keep polluting corporations, factory farms, and mining companies out of small towns. Laws could also be drafted to prevent GMOs and other foods with harmful additives from coming into your community.
What Can I Do?
Share this information with others – Most people still don’t know about Codex. Share this article on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to get the conversation started. If you know any medical students tell them about this and encourage them to put the pressure on the Regents and teachers of the medical schools. Student organizing can be impactful because their tuition is a major source of funding for the schools. You can also email this article by clicking the “mail” icon in the top right corner of this page.
Learn more about Codex– This article barely skims the surface. You can learn more about Codex at the following sites:
Natural Solutions Foundation – Committed and relentless peaceful warriors for natural food and supplement protection.
Stop Codex! - An informative website by the Dr. Rath Foundation.
Encourage Funding of Rife Technology – If you have financial resources, or know someone with money to invest, urge them to fund alternative, non-patentable cures and resurrect Rife technology.
 Codex: What is it and How Does it Affect Your Health? By Paul Anthony Taylor. October 2006. Dr. Rath Foundation: http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/THE_FOUNDATION/Events/codex-whatisit.html