Codex predicted to have a liberalising effect

After more than a decade of deliberations, Codex — the United Nations body established in 1963 to develop international food codes — will adopt its much anticipated supplements guidelines in July.

The guidelines will assist countries amending national regulations by providing a framework of scientifically derived findings.

?It is targeted at those countries that have no regulations or only partial regulation,? said Simon Pettman, executive director of the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations. ?Where it could have an impact is if a trade barrier occurs. If a product cannot find its way onto a market then the World Trade Organisation might impose sanctions. There is pressure for countries to step in line.?

Although a Codex supporter, the American Herbal Products Association noted that all 165 Codex member countries would be ?required to allow the import of all vitamin and mineral supplements that conform to the new guidelines.?

Most of the major US supplements trade associations expressed support for the guidelines, despite reservations in some quarters that even though Codex rejects RDAs for a science-based safety approach to maximum ingredient levels, the guidelines will have a restrictive effect on liberal markets such as the US.

US-based attorney Justin Prochnow at Greenberg Traurig noted the concern when he told Natural Foods Merchandiser there were sections of Congress who would take Codex and say, ?Look, here?s an international standard that most countries are adopting, and the US still isn?t doing this. We should conform with the rest of the world (by abandoning DSHEA).?

Pettman highlighted Codex benefits already being seen. ?Governments are shifting away from RDA to scientific risk assessment because of Codex.?

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