Codex Alimentarius-Global Food Imperialism by Scott C. Tips (ISBN-978-0-9795670-0-1; Foundation for Health Research; Paperback; 293 pages; $15.95)
"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under tyranny."
Book review by Elissa Meininger
Recently, I had occasion to pick up a copy of a new book called, "Codex Alimentarius - Global Food Imperialism." It bowled me over. It is a compendium of articles on Codex (which I describe briefly below) compiled and edited by Scott Tips, someone I consider a major authority on Codex. Scott has tracked Codex for many years, even before he began attending its meetings in 2000 as a member of the U.S. Delegation to Codex, headed by FDA officials, and then later arranged to have his organization, the National Health Federation (NHF) officially-recognized as a non-government organization (NGO) allowed to represent consumers at its meetings and deliberations.
For those not familiar with the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), it is a commission established under the auspices of both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - two organizations supposedly committed to the belief that the people of the world have the right to obtain the "highest attainable standard of health" (WHO), and are charged with "raising levels of nutrition" throughout the world (FAO). Both WHO and FAO are agencies chartered under the United Nations, which, as a global body, claims under Article One of its Declaration of Human Rights that, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
I mention these lofty and noble ideals because the reality is that, once you examine the inner workings of Codex, it becomes obvious that these high-minded ideals don’t necessarily mean the same thing to people all over the world. What most bowled me over about Scott’s book is that he has collected in one place nearly three dozen articles, arranged in chronological order, that provide an eyewitness history of what’s happened with Codex from the mid-1990s through the end of 2006, detailing how those higher-minded ideals have been routinely undermined. These articles have been written by people of differing nationalities and life experiences, who have all expressed similar reactions to the events at Codex that they’ve attended, and who have come to the same conclusions about them. The similarity of these experiences and reactions still stuns me.
Those who have followed Codex over the last several years will find familiar names like that of the American John C. Hammell, the British writer Paul Anthony Taylor, and the Bavarian writer Sepp Hasslberger now living in Italy, among those of the authors included in the anthology. Other, lesser known contributors, including Tamara Theresa Mosegaard and Alex Dybring of Denmark, and British-Norwegian author Ingrid Franzon, are also there, and offer a well-rounded international flavor. Still others who are very much up to the standard of this august body of eyewitnesses include Americans Susan J. Negus, PhD, and Suzan Walter, MBA. All of these people, along with Scott, are activists in citizen-driven organizations in their own countries, and are very knowledgeable about the finer points of the international fight for health freedom. They are all fully qualified to provide us with the most informed and detailed account of one of the most important events in our lifetime. For, if what they have reported as heading our way ever comes true, we may see the demise of the right of citizens to use medical modalities of their own choice in countries like ours that already have such freedom. But in addition, we may see it occur in developing nations, where malnutrition is still a big a problem, and where implementation of Codex “guidelines” declaring supplements too dangerous to remain on the market would be extremely counterproductive.
For the record, the committee within Codex that these eyewitnesses are reporting on is the committee concerned with food supplements called the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses. It is hosted by Germany and its chairman is Rolf Grossklaus, the head of the German Institute for Risk Evaluation - Germany’s version of the FDA, which focuses only on food and food-related products. For some reason – most likely due to lobbying by Germany’s powerful allopathic drug industry, dietary supplements are considered dangerous chemicals in that country, and people in Germany cannot purchase dietary supplements of even average dosage levels by American standards, much less purchase the higher dosage levels that have been used in the U.S. for decades and proven to be both safe and effective.
Yet, among the more astonishing aspects of how Codex, and this committee in particular, is run, is how far removed its procedures are from anything resembling a democratic process in which representatives of the people, after hearing from their constituents and debating the matter in a public forum, take a formal vote to arrive at a conclusion. As Scott and others describe it, the process of arriving at a “consensus” at Codex means that a chairperson allows participants to talk, and over time, this discussion is supposed to iron out any disagreements. Once everyone is supposedly on the same page, the chairman, without a formal vote, or even an informal show of hands, decides the group has come to consensus, and then declares the meeting adjourned. The fact that some in the room may still be in disagreement is ignored. And, later, when the printed report of the meeting is published, some of the contested items that were supposedly tabled until the next meeting, are sometimes found described as finalized. Americans, who expect accountability, and who would in this case expect at least a published transcript of the discussions that transpired during meeting, will find themselves empty-handed. No such records are available. Only the official report of the so-called “consensus” is available - a report that, according to Scott and other attendees, reflects only what the Chairman of the committee, Rolf Grossklaus, decides to include - which typically does not reflect true consensus.
While a number of early articles in the book touch on these disquieting issues, it wasn’t until 2004, when the picture had come into focus on just how undemocratic these meetings were being run, that the reports became truly disturbing. At that point, a small group of people in the health freedom movement around the world, including some of the authors of the book’s articles, began talking to each other behind the scenes to see if they could find a way to assert some influence over the proceedings.
At the core of their concern, aside from the peculiar way the meetings were run, was the underlying question of whether or not the “guidelines” that were so laboriously being decided had any teeth in them or not.
For Americans, who have always looked at the UN as a place to allow representatives of Third World countries to speak out about world affairs, and often condemn American imperialism, the idea that some obscure commission might create rules that would, in effect, force us to follow some German government official’s radical ideas about the dangers of vitamins, was barely believable. After all, for generations, America has more or less thumbed its nose at various UN protocols and other edicts.
This issue had been raised earlier by John Hammell in his September 1996 Life Extension Magazine article (included in Scott’s book), and Codex officials kept on insisting that their conclusions were not binding, just “guidelines.” But while they may have been just “guidelines” before the passage of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994 - with the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as part of that agreement (which included the establishment of a new world court to settle trade disputes), this new legal authority gave any country in the WTO the right to drag America to the World Court if that country decided it had a trade dispute over how we regulated our dietary supplements.
So, in 2004, Suzanne Walter, president of the American Holistic Health Association, who had been attending Codex meetings with press credentials for years, provided official Codex and WTO documents to the health freedom group showing that the World Trade Organization was, indeed, able to determine how the “guidelines” would be applied under international law. With this evidence in hand, the need to force the issue out in the open at a Codex meeting was now essential.
As described in detail in Scott’s article “A Meeting of Two” covering the November 2004 meeting in Bonn, several delegations made their move to clear up the issue once and for all. Using Codex’s own procedural rules, both the South African and Tanzanian delegations, as well as Scott’s group, formally asked the Chairman to specify if the “guidelines” were to be presented as optional or mandatory to the delegates. Grossklaus deferred to the Codex Secretariat who told Scott and the others very firmly, that they were definitely optional. When the two national delegations, using proper Codex procedures, asked that this information be inserted into the “guidelines” to provide a written record of this affirmation, both the European Union and the U.S. objected, saying it was unnecessary. The South African delegation then asked that its request for having such a written notation be included in the final Report of the Meeting. Finally, on the last day of the meeting when the draft report was read and no such notation was included, Scott asked the Chairman to please include it also, noting that both the National Health Federation and the South African delegation had made the request. Grossklaus refused, in a stunning violation of Codex’s own procedural manual. Scott noted in his article that this had been one of many refusals which rendered the final report to be “inaccurate, untruthful, and one that cannot be trusted.”
As alarming as Scott’s account of the November 2004 meeting was (in his article entitled, “A Meeting of Two”), other disturbing accounts repeated by several eyewitnesses, included stories about how our own FDA delegates made no attempt to defend our Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). DSHEA was passed unanimously by Congress in 1994 to allow access for all American citizens to dietary supplements, defining them as food, and stating specifically that they are to be regulated as food and not toxic drugs. With our own FDA delegates unwilling to provide forceful protection of our interests by even explaining to the rest of the delegates that these products are legally-defined in the U.S. as food, and not toxic drugs, many delegates from other countries had no idea that Americans have ready over-the-counter access to these products and consume them at perfectly safe high dosage levels at every meal.
Reading Scott’s book was, in some ways, like reading someone’s diary, as the authors of these articles elaborately critiqued what they observed, and often tried to educate their readers about mind-numbing debates on technical details that might effect them, as well as emphasizing the bizarre way the meetings were run.
Several chapters provide some serious meat for everyone to chew on outside of the meeting rooms at Codex, including John Hammell’s “North American Union.” Thanks to this chapter and others, the veil of obscurity on how nameless, faceless bureaucrats craft international trade laws is now lifted. These laws, typically orchestrated behind the scenes by international corporations (particularly those in the drug, chemical and agricultural businesses), are now often negatively impacting the lives ordinary people.
In addition, thanks to NAFTA and to other agreements and entities known only by their initials, the FDA (a public agency that has never been friendly to dietary supplements), now feels quite comfortable participating in another international agreement called the “Trilateral Cooperation Charter.” This charter provides a means for the FDA to negotiate with its counterparts in Canada and Mexico (without Congressional oversight) on how to “harmonize” our regulations with theirs, with the underlying understanding that in addition to gutting DSHEA, we are now officially moving to create a European Union style government between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico which sometime in the near future will also include countries in Central and South America. John did a great job explaining all the implications of these international agreements, and after the book was published, Scott elaborated further in his News With Views article, entitled, “Charter is Drawing Us Into a Black Hole.”
Scott’s final chapter, “The Maginot Mentality,” also expands upon John’s descriptions of the ever-expanding number of international agreements all of which seem to have only one mission – that of surrendering the American people to be governed by an unelected international bureaucracy.
I am profoundly grateful to Scott for putting this book together. The rapid globalization now knocking at our front doors, is a frightening thing. Thanks to Scott’s providing us with a rare bird’s eye view of how dishonestly the Codex bureaucracy works to achieve its ends, we all now have a chance to understand how this form of globalization operates in general, and how it may soon effect the food we will be allowed to serve on our dinner plates and whether or not we may actually be able to even purchase the dietary supplements we’ve always used to maintain our health.
Scott has also provided an assortment of key documents as well as brief biographies of all the people who contributed the many articles. Thus, he has provided a book of historical significance which many people may want to keep in their libraries as reference material for years to come.
I urge you to pick up your own copy of this book, and after reading it, give copies to your public servants, asking them how they could possibly condone our nation’s support for the Codex Alimentarius Commission or any other international trade agreement like it that has such a profound and direct negative impact on our daily lives.
Elissa Meininger became a noted health policy historian as well as a political activist after almost dying from years of mercury poisoning caused by mercury leaching from the "silver" dental amalgam fillings in her teeth. Bedridden and unable to carry on a coherent conversation, (and unable to obtain a diagnosis from any of the MDs she had consulted), she turned to a traditional naturopath who had no difficulty recognizing and explaining the source of the large array of chronic problems from which she had suffered most of her life. This diagnosis saved her life, but even today, such consultation remains illegal in many states.
Committed to reforming the medical system, Elissa embarked over 20 years ago on an array of projects geared to bringing enlightened medical treatment to the American people, including providing prepared statements for various U.S. Congressional and White House Commission hearings on health freedom legislation and policy, and testifying numerous times before the Oklahoma state legislature.
She is the former Vice President of Friends of Freedom International and co-columnist, with Carolyn Dean, M.D./N.D., of many articles posted on the NewsWithViews.com.
Currently, Elissa's health freedom political commentary can be heard on the natural health radio show SuperHealth, broadcast twice weekly on FoxSportsRadio 1340 AM in Oklahoma City and on the internet. E-Mail: