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From: Paul Anthony Taylor
Date: Thu, 08 May 2008 07:28:44 +0000
To: Wim Vis
Cc: Jan van Lieshout

Subject: Re: Codex A.

Dear Wim

Thanks for your response.

Firstly, with regard to Rima Laibow, the reason you are unable to find any evidence for the things she says is that in the vast majority of cases there simply isn't any. Unfortunately, very little of what she says on the subject of Codex is based on the facts - which, presumably, is why her written material almost never contains any evidential links to prove the veracity of her statements. This is also, incidentally, the case regarding her husband, Albert Stubblebine.

With regard to your specific questions, my answers to these are as follows:

1. The guideline's statement that the minimum level of each vitamin and mineral in a supplement should be 15% of the recommended daily intake applies to all vitamins and minerals that are recognised as such by FAO and WHO. As regards the maximum levels, and the requirement that these be set by so-called scientific risk assessment, our opposition to this is summed up in the article at http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/features/risk_assessment.html

2. I do not believe that the guideline will ban all vitamin and mineral supplements. I do however believe that it could result in severe limitations on the dosages (and therefore, the effectiveness) of vitamins and minerals in supplements, as described in the article on risk assessment, above.

3. Regarding biological (organic) food, I recommend that you closely examine the work of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL), which is intimately involved in this issue. Our summary of CCFL's 2006 meeting can be found at
(See section entitled: Agenda item 4: Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labelling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods).

Our report on the 2006 meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission also includes some information re. this issue.
(See section entitled: The ‘watering-down’ of standards for organic foods).

Finally, and most importantly of all, you should also read the agenda for this year's CCFL meeting, which was held in Ottawa between 28 April – 2 May 2008. (See the attached PDF). Click on the links next to agenda item 4 to download the relevant papers. One of our colleagues attended this meeting and we will be reporting on its outcome in due course. Unless something very unexpected happened at this meeting, I expect that the entire list of additional substances (Draft Revised Annex 2: Table 3 - which includes carrageenan) will have been adopted (i.e. finalized) at Step 8, as also will the use of ethylene.

4. The situation regarding GM food is a little more complex and slightly different to some of the other Codex issues that we cover.

As you probably know, surveys suggest that the vast majority of consumers do not want to consume GM foods. However, any GM food that complies with Codex GM guidelines effectively has a passport permitting it to be sold in every country (there are currently 151 of them) that is a member of the WTO. As even Codex itself admits, the WTO uses Codex standards and guidelines in its adjudication of international trade disputes. (See final sentence of the penultimate paragraph on page 7 at ftp://ftp.fao.org/codex/Publications/understanding/Understanding_EN.pdf for confirmation of this). As such, given that several Codex texts on GM were adopted in 2003 (see: CAC/GL 44/2003; CAC/GL 45/2003; CAC/GL 46/2003; all of which can be found at http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/standard_list.do?lang=en) it is no surprise at all that the WTO subsequently ruled in favour of the United States http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds291_e.htm Canada http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds292_e.htm and Argentina http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds293_e.htm in the GM trade dispute cases brought by these countries against the European Union.

In relation to these trade dispute cases, an article that we wrote in August 2005, prior to the WTO issuing its ruling, may perhaps be of some help in explaining some of the background history.

The key reason why the GM issue at Codex is a complex one is that by setting ANY standards for GM foods - regardless of the wording and content of the texts concerned - Codex is essentially forcing them onto world markets. To put this another way, if there were no Codex standards on GM foods then it would not be possible to use the WTO to force countries to accept them.

Finally, the other "hot issue" regarding GM foods at Codex right now is whether or not they should be labelled as such. The big GM-producing countries - primarily led by the United States, Canada and Argentina - do not want Codex to make it mandatory for GM foods to carry any indication on the label that they have been genetically-modified. Significantly therefore, there may well have been some important developments regarding this issue at the recent CCFL meeting that I mentioned earlier. Again, we will be reporting on this meeting in due course.

5. As to whether we, as consumers, need to worry about Codex, and whether it is a threat, the answer is "yes" to both questions. My answers to the above four questions, and the links contained in them, should hopefully make this clear.

6. Regarding Rima Laibow's statements:

- "It is a Napoleonic code" etc: This is essentially true, the reason being that Codex is increasingly controlled by the European Union, which itself takes a Napoleonic approach to legislation.

- "Under codex every cow used for milk needs to be treated with recombant growth hormone": This is utter nonsense.

- "EVERY animal used for food on the planet (birds, fish, meat) must be treated with subclinical antibiotics & exogenous growth hormones": This is utter nonsense.

- "ALL food be irradiated unless eaten locally and raw": This is utter nonsense.

- "And that certain pesticides are permitted that were once forbidden and noted as very dangerous": I am not personally aware of this being the case. That said, I wouldn't entirely rule it out. However, given that Laibow neither cites the names of these pesticides nor provides any evidence for the veracity of this statement, I rather suspect that it is untrue.

Let me know if any of the above is unclear or if you need any further information, such as evidence/links etc.

Once you have been through this material I will try to make time to speak to you by telephone. In the meantime, I hope that my answers, above, are helpful to you.

Kind regards


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