I bet you’ve never heard of Codex Alimentarius, most people haven’t.
The Codex Alimentarius (Latin for “Book of Food”) is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety. It was established in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Commission’s main aims are stated as being to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the international food trade. The Codex Alimentarius is recognized by the World Trade Organization as an international reference point for the resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection.
It is basically concerned with:
- Food Labeling (general standard, guidelines on nutrition labeling, guidelines on labeling claims)
- Food additives (general standard including authorized uses, specifications for food grade chemicals)
- Contaminants in foods (general standard, tolerances for specific contaminants .
- Pesticide and veterinary chemical residues in foods (maximum residue limits)
- Risk assessment procedures for determining the safety of foods derived from biotechnology (DNA-modified plants, DNA-modified micro-organisms, allergens)
- Food hygiene (general principles, codes of hygienic practice in specific industries or food handling establishments, guidelines for the use of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point or “HACCP” system)
- Methods of analysis and sampling
- Meat products (fresh, frozen, processed meats and poultry)
- Fish and Fishery products (marine, fresh water and aquaculture)
- Milk and milk products
- Foods for special dietary uses (including infant formula and baby foods
- Fresh and processed vegetables, fruits and fruit juices
- Cereals and derived products, dried legumes
- Fats, oils and derived products such as margarine
- Miscellaneous food products (chocolate, sugary, honey and bottled water.)
Now, on the surface this sounds like important work done by an important agency whose goal is our health, but lets look a little closer at the story.
According to many of the consumer protection groups, the Codex Alimentarius has “codified policies designed to serve the interest of global agribusiness above all others, while actively undermining the rights of farmers and consumers”.
One of the main causes of concern is that the Codex Alimentarius is recognized by the World Trade Organizations an international reference standard for the resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection however there are no requirements to base their recommendations on scientific studies. For example:
In 1996 the German delegation put forward a proposal that no herb, vitamin or mineral should be sold for preventive or therapeutic reasons, and that supplements should be reclassified as drugs.This proposal was agreed upon but world protests halted it’s implementation. If it had been put in place, you would need a doctors prescription to purchase Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs. Imagine needing a prescription to purchase Peppermint Tea?
So lets look at the situation, at least how it appears in the U.S. and lets see if Codex is doing their job, or at least what they claim their mission to be.
1 Fast Food restaurants are on just about every block in the U.S. cities. We know that these foods being sold are high in fat and salt, low in nutrients and filled with additives, preservatives and other chemicals designed to make the food look attractive.
2 Most food sold in our supermarkets are processed and filled with such dangerous chemicals as ethylene glycol (anti-freeze) among others, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup on and on.
3 A majority of certain produce is being genetically engineered, yet this practice not only is illegal in many European countries, but the longer term side effects are unknown.
4 Our drinking water is becoming more and more polluted. for example, when we are told that one part per million of cyanide is acceptable, there obviously is something wrong.
5 Plastics and other materials which are toxic are leaching into the ground water, of which we are drinking.
6 The increase in prescription drugs used has doubled over the past number of years and continues to rise as more and more advertising is done on television, newspapers and other media. The number of deaths per year from this is hotly debated, but the fact is that it is very high.
7 The increase in obesity, diabetes and a plethora of other (lifestyle related illnesses) have gone through the roof. Children are actually developing adult onset diabetes, and doctors want to start all children of a certain age on cholesterol lowering drugs.
The fact is that I can go on and on, but apparently Codex is not doing their job very well. Many point to the fact that today Codex is made up of the heads of pharmaceutical cartels, giant agricultural concerns and chemical companies. their motive is, of course, profit as well as keeping us sick. Why would they want to keep us sick, billions of dollars in drug sales.
Part of the problem lies with us, in our fast paced 21st century life. We want things immediately, such gadgets as cell phones, (made with non recyclable materials which wind up in land fill) instant foods (instead of eating foods grown locally and in season), the inability or unwillingness to take the responsibility to read and educate ourselves on what is going on around us. (It is estimated that the majority of adults in the United States read 1 book per year) and the fact that the majority of us sit in front of the television for hours a day watching not only silly programs but being bombarded with advertising for the above things which are just not good for us. (Cigarettes have been banned on television in the U.S. for decades, yet Ronald McDonald can prance around sending the message to children that they need to go to a fast food restaurant to eat. To top it off, gifts are advertised, such as happy meals to start the children on these bad habits at an early age).
The rest of the blame goes to our government agencies which are easily paid off by these huge conglomerates (through lobbying) to push their products on the non-suspecting public. A business is entirely entitled to make a profit (which is what business is about), however do they have the right to do this at the expense of our health and the health of the future generations as well as the planet?
You be the judge.
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