Saturday, July 16, 2005

Andrew Weil, M.D. shills for international safety regulation of your supplements

...because the gatekeepers in this case will be innocuous, even disinterested “international” agencies, composed of altruistic “scientists,” using “scientific” standards, and creating a voluntary “international” order of “safety.” Oh, and did I mention it’ll be done by “international” groups and that “scientists” will make the decisions? ...and that it’s for our “safety?”

Andrew Weil, the bearded health guru seen on public television has joined the disinformation campaign to support CODEX. Someone needed to counter this, and so I decided to provide this public service.

Below, AW stands for Andy Weil and JB stands for your excellent host who straightens him out.

AW: I've had a lot of questions about Codex, often based on alarmist and erroneous information being circulated on the Internet. I'm happy to set the record straight. Here's the story: in 1963 the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization created the Codex Alimentarius Commission to protect the health of consumers and to ensure fair practices in the international food trade through development of food standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations.

JB: OK, so note that Andrew Weil favors this. Notice the positive language about Codex, and the pejoratives about information critical of Coded being distributed on the Net.

AW: For the past decade, Codex has been developing guidelines for vitamins and mineral supplements focusing on establishing new potency levels.

JB: Just bookmark this in your mind. Later, Weil will deny this is what they’re doing.

AW: Codex completed its work in November 2004, and the guidelines were adopted at the Commission's July 5, 2005 meeting. This development has given rise to widespread misunderstanding. The thrust of the wrong-headed information being circulated on the Internet is that the Codex guidelines will restrict the availability of vitamins and minerals in the United States. Even more fanciful is the claim that once the Codex guidelines on vitamins and minerals are adopted, supplements that exceed the RDA will be available in the U.S. only by prescription and that this "stealthy" takeover of the supplement industry has been plotted in secret by the pharmaceutical industry working underneath the radar in Europe. None of this is true.

JB: OK, so that’s his charge. How does he back it up? (NOTE: As you read Weil, notice the “slight of mouth” [SOM].)

AW: First of all, the Codex guidelines are non-binding on the United States (or any other country) and do not override U.S. law as many people claim (only Congress can change U.S. law regarding supplements).

JB: SOM #1 Codex guidelines are not, technically speaking, binding on our country and they do not, again technically speaking, override U.S. law. Yes, only Congress can change U.S. law regarding supplements.

But, what he doesn’t tell you is that the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Codex Aliminetarius Commission (or, food standards board) is part of the WTO. I’ll explain how in moment. But let’s back to Dr. Andy...

AW: This country's participation in Codex is strictly voluntary. The guidelines will not in any way affect the availability of supplements to consumers in the United States.

JB: (Don’t forget our “mental bookmark”). Our government is a member of the WTO, and a signatory to CODEX. WTO is as binding as a treaty. At some point some foreign nation, another member of the WTO, will likely file complaint citing unfair or illegal trade practices because American businesses are still selling a particular supplement that doesn’t meet the new “fair” regulations.

The WTO has the power to respond to such a complaint with sanctions. This will put a crimp in domestic companies' ability to trade overseas.

And _Congress_ will respond to this situation by folding like a cheap suit. Congress always withers in the face of WTO because the Chamber of Commerce and Fortune 500 companies won’t tolerate having their businesses damaged because of one or two supplement manufacturers.

AW: Here's what you should know about the Codex guidelines: They're limited to vitamins and minerals only, and do not extend to herbs and other dietary supplements.

JB: Yes, because God hold the patents on herbs.

AW: Contrary to the circulating scare stories, the guidelines do not set upper limits for vitamins and minerals in supplements. Instead, they specify that maximum amounts should be established by scientific risk assessment, a process that will now be undertaken by a panel of scientific experts. There is nothing in the guidelines requiring that supplements be sold as prescription drugs in the United States or elsewhere.

JB: MENTAL BOOKMARK TIME. First, the guidelines were “for vitamins and mineral supplements focusing on establishing new potency levels,” and the “guidelines will not in any way affect the availability of supplements to consumers,” but now, “the guidelines do not set upper limits for vitamins and minerals in supplements.” Which is it Andy?

Actually, it’s SOM #2, and my personal favorite of this disinformation piece. It’s easier to disguise misleading information if you’re a bit verbose. He’s right, again technically, that the “guidelines” do not set upper limits. But the scientific panels of experts that Codex creates will. Or do you assume that these scientists, tasked with setting upper limits, will decide that there should be no such limits?

But Andy also thinks we’ll be better off as a result of these limits (which he just tried to tell you don’t exist), because scientists on a “committee” will provide for our safety. It won’t be you. It won’t be the people selling. There’s no room for the market in this process – science has the answers.

AW: As for the notion that the drug industry has engineered the Codex guidelines in an effort to take over the supplement market, the truth is that some of the largest supplement manufacturers in the U.S. already are owned by big pharmaceutical firms or their parent companies.
{signed} Andrew Weil, M.D.

JB: SOM #3 – this is what specialists in rhetoric call a non-sequiter. For those of you in Waukesha County, Wisconsin (home of Congressman James Senselessbrenner), that means one thing has nothing to do with the other.

Actually, the big pharmaceutical firms only control “some” of the supplement market (by Dr. Andy’s own admission), and it would be good news to them to see their competition shut down. Further, supplements are used by people to help keep their bodies healthy. Without them, these folks will have to turn or return to prescription drugs, meaning more customers for those friendly big pharmaceutical firms who may well have paid Andy to sell his credibility.
{signed} Jim Babka, No B.S.

Jim: An excellent source of information on the dangers of CAFTA may be found at That website is chock full of what's wrong with the CAFTA treaty.

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