CODEX Fails To Deliver

Berlin, Germany—The International Alliance of Dietary Supplements Association (IADSA) expressed frustration that the Codex Committee, the World Trade Organisation's food authority, has not resolved two core requirements for establishing internationally acceptable guidelines for the worldwide manufacture and distribution of dietary supplements. The Codex Committee met here the last week of November.

The guidelines are inadequate in their current form, says IADSA, because they do not clearly define the role and possible content of food supplements and imply that vitamins and minerals are the only ingredients permitted in food supplements.

"A further annual meeting of the Committee had passed without substantial progress toward ensuring consumer access to safe supplements," says Simon Pettman, executive director of IADSA. "I do, however, welcome the international review of safety as a key to the establishment of not only an appropriate international regulatory framework, but also an open global market."

As in previous years, a clear division emerged between those national delegations favouring risk assessment and those preferring an approach based on a multiple of the RDA. In a bid to forge a compromise between the two opinions, the European Union (EU) proposed that Codex include the method of calculation agreed to by the EU in its draft Directive, whereby the EU maximum levels would be based on three considerations—risk assessment, vitamin and mineral intake from all sources and the current RDA levels.

This approach received the support of a significant number of governments, the majority of which are European. If adopted, the EU may also seek to have maximum levels agreed to by Codex when establishing maximum levels for Europe.

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