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What Is The Codex Alimentarius?
The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), based in Rome, Italy, is an international organization jointly created by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WTO) of the United Nations. The Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Use (CCNFSDU) is responsible for Dietary Supplements and Medical Foods and is one of some 27 separate Codex committees. The CCNFSDU meets once yearly in Berlin, Germany (its host country) and the National Health Federation is a Codex-recognized organization with the right to attend and speak out at these meetings.
The purpose of Codex is to provide a forum to facilitate global trade in foods and promote consumer food safety by developing science based standards and guidelines for use by member countries. Codex guidelines and standards are automatically implemented by the General Agreement on Trade & Tariffs (GATT) of the WTO and become binding for all international trade among GATT signatory countries. The CAC process calls for proposed committee standards and guidelines to be forwarded and approved by the Codex Alimentarius Commission's Executive Committee.
When the proposals reach final approval (after an eight-step process), they then become binding on all GATT signatories, including the United States. Thereafter, no GATT-signatory country may use as a trade barrier any standard or guideline that disagrees with a Codex guideline or standard. According to some, it does not mean that all GATT countries must adopt Codex standards for their own domestic use. According to the NHF, we think that Codex guidelines and standards will inevitably supersede domestic laws, including the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.
The National Health Federation supports Codex guidelines and standards that are based on a free-market approach that maximizes freedom and health. In a free-market approach, the consumer is king and can choose to purchase and consume any foods and dietary supplements that he or she wishes. History has shown that the safest food products do not come from a top-down driven, controlled-market economy where an elitist select few decide what is "best" for all of us. Rather, the safest and healthiest individuals are those who are free to choose for themselves what is best for their health. The National Health Federation does not say that a free-market system is perfect.
No system is perfect. Instead, the goal is to minimize health errors and disease and a free-market system inevitably leads to such minimization. Recent history has shown centralized, planned economies to be among the unhealthiest for their citizens. And the more that free-market economies themselves are seduced into allowing health-care decisions to be made by elitist planners, the more health and health freedom will suffer. Therefore, the National Health Federation supports a decentralized system of health choices; and the most decentralized system is one where each individual consumer is free to choose what to put into his or her own body.