The potential impact of rules adopted by the Codex Alimentarius commission, especially what effect these rules may have on nutritional supplement availability in the US and elsewhere, has been hotly debated. I will not join the fray here, but this latest article by Scott Tips, counsel to NHF, about Codex meetings last November is worth reading for anyone trying to get a better understanding of what exactly is going on at Codex and how the commission goes about considering guidelines to adopt for supplements.
Scott makes some interesting observations. For example, on the issue of supplement claims:
Of course, the EC view has been that health claims for food supplements should be prohibited – period. Many delegations agree with this viewpoint, but there is enough opposition to a flat prohibition to perhaps avoid achieving consensus on this point. Regardless, the general American view of liberality for such claims – not espoused by the U.S. delegation by
the way – will never be adopted in this atmosphere of governmental paternalism.
Although there was some discussion about substantiating health claims and even permitting disease-reduction health claims, the problem that we face here is that most of the Codex countries themselves have made any dietary supplement health claims illegal or so nominal as to be useless. And the existing draft Recommendations for Health Claims reflects this view. Unfortunately, in their blind haste to protect consumers from themselves, the regulators
are actually consigning consumers to an informational black hole from where consumers will be kept ignorant of truthful dietary information important to their health.