IAHF Webmaster: Breaking News, Whats New, ANH Lawsuit, All Countries, What to do
IAHF List: What follows are two press releases announcing the ANH lawsuit to overturn the EU Food Supplement Directive. While we have succeeded in generating sufficient donations to get the lawsuit introduced, its going to take a sustained effort over the next two years to generate additional donations necessary to sustain it and to see it through to a successful completion.
We're by no means out of the woods yet! Please forward these press releases widely, and encourage more people to make donations on a regular basis to ANH via their secure server at http://www.alliance-natural-health.org Especially tell American health food stores they're being lied tby NNFA which is actively keeping them in the dark on this issue, not explaining the global implications of the ANH lawsuit. For more info see http://www.iahf.com/anh_lawsuit.html and see info by the American flag at http://www.alliance-natural-health.org The American dietary supplement industry is being controlled from the top-down by pharma interests which are actively steering the industry to the cliff via IADSA and Dennin who is about as much "retired" from Pfizer as Cheney is from Halliburton.
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First 300 key vitamins and minerals axed, now 5 000 supplements banned by "insane" EU Directive. Sam Burcher reports on the right to freedom for the £1.6 billion alternative health industry.
The Alliance of Natural Health (ANH) is set to legally challenge the contentious EU Directive on Food Supplements (FSD). The FSD passed into European law in July 2002 and effectively brings about a ban on 300 nutrients included in 5 000 health products, most of which are in dietary supplements closest to food forms.
In July this year, the House of Commons Standing Committee for FSD Regulations met and voted the Food Supplement Directive through into English, Scottish and Welsh law. Dr Robert Verkerk, executive director of London-based ANH hopes a successful challenge would result in the FSD being overturned by all EU states.
The ANH represent the interests of a number of organisations including the British Association of Complimentary Medicine and the British Society for Allergy Environmental and Nutritional Medicine as well as a number of independent manufactures, suppliers and distributors of vitamins and minerals. Together they suggest the existing Directive be replaced with a revised FSD that allows for high quality, effective supplements across the whole of Europe. This would effectively harmonise to good standards, not bad ones.
Three other Directives concerning Herbal Medicine, Novel Foods and EU Medicines are under consideration, but have not yet been ratified into UK law. The appropriation of traditional products is likely to increase with food supplements, food substances and food/beverages (health drinks and fruit juices) suppressed by EU Directives repackaged as "Nutraceuticals" and sold by pharmaceutical companies. (See box 1)
Two Labour MPs have voiced concerns about the way the Regulations were voted through by the Standing Committee. Kate Hoey MP (Vauxhall) revealed what happened: "I was a member of this committee until I said, very honestly, that I would vote against the regulations." She was, together with five other MPs, "unceremoniously removed" from the committee the night before the vote took place and replaced with MPs who voted in favour of the FSD.
According to Kate Hoey, this gives a clear message that the government cares more for the pharmaceutical industry that it does about ordinary people. Her views are shared by Jeremy Corbyn MP (Islington), he said: "The FSD is a product of ruthless lobbying tactics by the pharmaceutical industry which is not keen on the diversity of supply of vitamin supplements available in health food shops." He backs the ANH move to legally challenge the Directive.
Legal challenges are seldom made to the 40 000 EU Directives implemented since the UK joined the Common Market in 1972, ostensibly to share in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). But Conservative MP Daniel Hannan complained to the Daily Telegraph last September 3, that, "whenever you see an apparently insane Brussels Directive, someone, somewhere stands to gain." And in his view, the Directives affecting natural remedies resulted because of lobbying by the large pharmaceutical companies. (See box 2)
MEP, Nigel Farrage said that on one occasion, MEPs were required to vote on Directives 450 times in one 80-minute session. He freely admitted that it was a farce and he voted as he was told.
To simply question the validity of food supplementation is no longer enough when it is generally acknowledged that modern food production methods and deterioration of soil due to intensive farming are affecting vitamins and mineral content in food. For example, levels of the mineral selenium (Se) declined 50% between 1974-1991 and the UK population selenium levels are lower than many other European countries. Scientific studies show selenium is an essential nutrient associated with the function of major metabolic pathways, and taken up rapidly by the body when given as a dietary supplement. Also well established is the fact that dietary selenium is important for a healthy immune response, and the effects of its deficiency can include decreased T-cell counts and impaired lymphocyte proliferation. Fourteen forms of selenium, including the organic forms, selenium yeast and selenomethionine are forbidden on 'The Positive List'
In fact vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant and those coping with chronic diseases such as arthritis can all benefit from food supplements. But, in essence, the FSD is another blow to the individual's freedom to choose how to look after their health, be it in conjunction with a good diet, or simply as a preventative against developing a chronic disease. Increasing visits to GPs to obtain the correct supplements, as the Directive would have us do will not suit the overburdened Health Service at all, but it might just serve the big corporations.
Some of the 300 vitamins and mineral excluded from the FSD positive list
Boron (All forms)
Required for absorption of calcium
Vitamin E (naturally occurring tocopherols and toctotrienols)
Antioxidants, which protect against damage by free radicals, associated with cancer and other degenerative diseases.
Calcium (23 food forms)
For bones, teeth and cell function
Chromium (17 forms)
For balancing blood sugar levels, widely used by diabetics
Magnesium (30 forms)
Healthy bones and teeth
Potassium (21 forms)
Maintains blood pressure and heart beat rhythm
Silica (All forms)
Works in conjunction with boron, calcium, and other minerals to support bones, arteries, connective tissue, hair, skin and nails
Selenium (14 forms)
Antioxidant, important for heart function. Contributes to healthy immune response.
The dietary supplement Glucosamine, a combination of minerals,vitamins and fatty acids bought by millions of arthritis suffers to ease their painful symptoms has been banned as a food supplement by the Medicines Agency in Denmark and Sweden. Instead it is has been allowed on to the shelves as an over the counter medicine produced by Recip Glucosine and Pharma Nord - two pharmaceutical companies.
The Food Supplements Directive covers two fundamental areas:
1. The types of vitamins and minerals that may be legally sold from mid-2005.
2. The maximum doses at which they may be supplied from 2006.
The EU Commission has designated a list of permissible nutrients called 'The Positive List.' Specialist vitamin manufactures have expressed concern that their products containing organic ingredients, excluded from the 'List', are being compromised by synthetic or inorganic equivalents that are on the 'List.' All attempts to include a number of organic vitamins and minerals have been refused. Not only that, but to register their high quality products for sale could cost up to £250,00 per nutrient plus evidence of their safety. All nutrients must be paid for and registered by August 2005, putting small, large and medium suppliers of food supplements under intense pressure.
Maximum doses or Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamins and minerals will be negotiated over the next 18 months. Levels are to be set by the EU Scientific Committee to Food (SCF), who are not accountable to any government or parliament and have banned 300 nutrients so far (See box 1). Two commonly occurring vitamins, which have a wealth of scientific study to support their validity, are vitamin C and vitamin B6. The ANH fear RDA doses will be rendered so low that consumers will have to buy much more of the product to receive their current nutritional dose or that they might disappear from the shelves altogether.
Legal Bid Challenges EU Food Directive. Health Matters vol 5 No.6 July/August 2003.
Wright O. Johnston C. Bennett R. Clampdown on Alternative Medicines. The Times. 20th September 2003.
Watts. M. Right to Buy Essential Supplements. The Argus. July 19th 2003
Brown KM. Pickard K. Nicol F. Beckett G.J. Duthie G.G. Arthur J.R. Effects of organic and inorganic selenium supplementation on selenoenzyme activity in blood lymphocytes, granulocytes, platelets and erythrocytes. The Rowett Research Institute Clinical Science 98, 593-599. 2000
Burcher S. Hands off Vitamins and Herbs. Science in Society Issue 17. p19-20 Winter 2003. © Institute of Science in Society
What's the Future? Linking Bioscience with Nature. © BioCare 2003
Food Supplements Directive 2003. Alliance for Natural Health www.alliance-natural-health.org
This article can be found on the I-SIS website at http://www.i-sis.org.uk/vitamins2.php
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-----------------------------------------------------------NEXT- ANH Press Release
ALLIANCE FOR NATURAL HEALTH MOUNTS LEGAL CHALLENGE
TO THE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS DIRECTIVE BAN
ON THE SALE AND MANUFACTURE OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS
WHO IS THE ALLIANCE FOR NATURAL HEALTH?
The ANH is a pan-European and International organisation of supplement manufacturers, retailers, practitioners and consumers very concerned about the negative effects of the European Food Supplements Directive, which come into effect in this country on 1 August 2005.
WHAT WILL BE THE EFFECT OF THE DIRECTIVE?
The Directive will ban about 300 of the 420 or so forms of vitamins and minerals present in around 5000 products on the UK market, many of which are sold in high street health food stores. The ban will have a similar effect on products in such countries as Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland which have advanced markets for food supplements.
WHY WILL THE BAN HAVE CATASTROPHIC EFFECTS ON THE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS INDUSTRY?
There is a growing deterioration in the UK diet bought about by the economic pressure of big business and the advertising of fast food. The decreasing nutritional quality of the average diet along with the increasing exposure to toxins make the role of nutrition, including use of supplements, of paramount importance in healthcare in order to address the growing incidence of degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis to mention but a few. The ban will have the effect of making it much more difficult for anyone concerned about their health and diet to supplement it with a range of products which have been consumed and sold for years without any health risk.
The second impact of the ban is that many small companies who research into, produce and market these safe and effective food supplements will be unable to sell them without investing huge sums of money in proving their safety & despite the fact that we have been consuming many of the food-forms of nutrients to be banned in many cases for hundreds of years with no known health risk.
THE ANH CHALLENGE
The ANH has begun the legal process for a declaration that the Directive is invalid under European law. Aided by lawyers from Brick Court Chambers and The Simkins Partnership in London, the ANH has set out to prove that this potentially catastrophic ban is not only unnecessary, but unlawful.
Dr Rob Verkerk PhD, Executive Director of the ANH says:
"This is a groundbreaking challenge to another intrusive and unwanted EU Directive ban which we aim to demonstrate has been passed unlawfully from the EU into UK law. We believe that it will rob the consumer of the right to buy important nutritional supplements to improve their diet and health and that of their children, as well as putting hundreds of small businesses and the livelihoods of thousands at risk. There is absolutely no justification for this ban and we aim to get it removed."
SMALL BUSINESSES SUFFER MOST FROM THE DIRECTIVE
Mike Ash, Managing Director of Nutri-Link Limited, a West Country based manufacturer and supplier of supplements to practitioners and health stores, is a co-claimant with the ANH. He represents many of the small businesses, which will be hit by the ban, and says:
"The Directive bans many of our most popular products and forces us and many other manufacturers needlessly to reformulate other key products. The cost to us to reformulate tried and tested products to comply with the directive is enormous. To develop a single product can take months of careful assessment and analysis. If we have to spend our time until August 2005 reformulating existing products to comply with the directive we cannot develop new products. In many instance, reformulation will not be possible at all as the most important ingredients of the product will be banned by the directive. The ban is a catastrophe for our business and customers."
WHAT WILL BE BANNED BY THE DIRECTIVE?
Among the 300 ingredients to be banned by the Directive will be natural forms of Vitamin E, found in food wheatgerm and organic bound minerals like selenocysteine, found in brazil nuts. In addition the directive aims to ban nearly all important trace elements used in supplements, including boron and vanadium.
Demand for products nutrients sourced from natural ingredients is increasing rapidly among consumers simply because such products work very effectively. An increasing number of scientific reports are supporting their use in place of older-style synthetic nutrients that have been the mainstay of the supplement industry for several decades.
Synthetic vitamins and inorganic minerals, typical ingredients in multivitamin and mineral products found in supermarkets and pharmacies will not be affected by the ban.
In summary, advanced natural and well absorbed vitamin and mineral nutrients will be banned and what will be allowed will be the old-fashioned, synthetic versions, which tend to be much less effective.
The Foods Supplements Directive ban on advanced nutrients thus destroys innovation and deprives consumers of the best food supplements now available.
Robert Verkerk BSc, MSc, DIC, PhD
Tel. (general): 01252 371 275
Tel. (direct): 0771 484 7225
David Hinde LLb Solicitor
Tel. (direct):0207738 1640
Mobile:07958 548 186
Refer to website www.alliance-natural-health.orgfor further details.
International Advocates for Health Freedom
POB 10632 Blacksburg VA 24062 USA