The International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) has spoken out against false statements vilifying the goals, purpose and transparency of Codex Alimentarius’ work on food supplements.
IADSA, which has been monitoring the work of Codex for the last 10 years, said that the statements circulating the Internet in recent weeks have “absolutely no factual basis at all”.
These false statements range from claims that Codex plans to make supplements ‘prescription only’ products, to confusion about the legally binding nature of its guidelines and standards, and clams questioning the transparency of its meetings and procedures.
Byron Johnson, Chairman of IADSA, said: “There are currently false statements being circulated in a number of countries claiming that the activities of Codex Alimentarius will have a negative impact on food supplements. One of these statements, for example, is that it plans to make supplements available by prescription only. This is completely untrue. Just four years ago Codex adopted a Guideline for vitamin and mineral supplements, which clearly placed supplements under food law. Codex bases its guidelines and standards on the latest available scientific knowledge gathered from experts across the world.”
He added: “All guidelines and standards adopted by Codex are voluntary, however, many governments can and do implement these standards since they bring their laws into line with international practice.”
Codex Alimentarius is jointly run by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation and the World Health Organization. Since its establishment in 1963 it has played a role in the development of food standards, guidelines and related texts, such as codes of practice under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
Responding to the false statement that Codex is a ‘mysterious’ organisation, Mr Johnson said: “While final decisions are taken by member country delegations, there are more than 160 international non-governmental organisations that participate in Codex discussions as observers. These observers represent consumers, universities, scientists, industry and so forth. There is nothing mysterious about that.”