Why You Should Care About Codex: Separating Fact from Fiction

codex_alimentariusNext week, ANH-USA will travel to Germany to represent YOU at the next Codex meeting. Here’s what to expect.
The Alliance for Natural Health USA has been selected to represent US consumers at the international Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU), which will meet December 3–7 in Germany.
The Codex Alimentarius (Latin for “Food Code”) is a collection of internationally adopted food standards, guidelines, codes of practice, and other recommendations which supporters hope will become a global standard and also facilitate international trade. The CCNFSDU studies specific nutritional problems and advises the Codex Commission on general nutrition issues. They also develop guidelines for foods and supplements for special dietary uses, so having a seat at the table and being able to directly convey your concerns is a significant step forward for our consumer advocacy organization.
The Codex Commission’s decisions are far-reaching, and generally work to the advantage of the world’s most powerful countries and powerful industry members. Smaller countries and companies can easily get shut out of the process. We represent only the interests of the consumer, particularly the natural health community.
The Commission, through their various committees, addresses acceptable levels of pesticide residues, the amount of gluten allowed in gluten-free foods, GMOs and GMO labeling, infant formula, supplements, and contaminants in food. Regular Pulse readers will recall that we have some major concerns with the US adopting an international standard, particularly since the Commission usually follows the European Union, and the EU has adopted absurd limits on supplements—either banning them or allowing for sale only dosage strengths so low as to be completely ineffective.
Here are some of our concerns—and things we hope to help change by taking an active role in Codex discussions now and in the future:

  • Genetically engineered plants and animals being globally accepted with little to no scientific vetting;
  • Standards concerning “healthy food production systems” (i.e., organics) being dumbed down, and the approval of synthetic additives and processing aids in “organic” food, to better suit profit-driven corporate interests;
  • The acceptance of dangerously high pesticide residue levels;
  • Banning useful supplements or setting excessively low maximum daily doses based on scientifically flawed risk-assessment methods;
  • Creating rules that may force foods or supplements into the drug category; and
  • Creating an international requirement for hyper-expensive drug-style clinical trials before one can share any health information about a food or supplement.

December’s meeting will mainly be about supplements, recommended daily allowances (and the criteria for determining them), and the enrichment of foods (adding vitamins or minerals to them).
Contrary to many Internet rumors, governments are not required to adopt Codex standards, so the effects of any Codex decisions are never immediate and are drawn out over many years. In the US, the process for adopting Codex standards can occur either through legislation or through the regulatory process—and of course citizens have a say in that! In fact, Congress has passed a law stating that Codex standards will not supersede domestic laws.
At the same time, however, Congress has passed other legislation stating that federal agencies must or should consider some Codex standards as part of the regulatory process—which may incorporate Codex into US standards with little fanfare. For example:

  • The Food Quality Protection Act states that FDA must consider Codex maximum levels when establishing tolerance for pesticide chemical residue in or on food. If the agency decides to depart from the Codex standards, they have to provide an explanation for public comment.
  • Under the Animal Drug Availability Act, in establishing tolerance levels of drugs, the FDA may consider and rely on Codex standards.
  • The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (which we reported on extensively) required the FDA to provide recommendations on whether and how US should harmonize with Codex requirements. This opens the door towards much greater harmonization with Codex standards. Fortunately, ANH-USA secured a big victory by exempting dietary supplements from this provision.

Harmonizing US standards with Codex is worrisome, and we are pleased to be able to participate in the CCNFSDU’s decision-making process. We will report back after the meeting, and will keep you updated as we represent your concerns on the international stage and work to protect your rights.



  1. Codex should be — must be— unconditionally opposed. It has virtually outlaws supplements in Europe and represents a major threat to any remotely reasonable concept of natural healing and nutrition. There is not the slightest positive value in such regulations.
    I fully expect to see the point of view of your members strongly advocated at this meeting. There is, unfortunately, no room for compromise with Codex.
    Bolivia set a great example for the world yesterday — a ten year ban on all GMO products. And Bolivia will not be the only country to take such a principled position.

  2. Please do all you can to protect our food supply from Big Agg and Big Chem as well as government .

  3. Big Pharma is clearly scared of natural nutriments. Why ? Because they work ! And cost pennies compared to patented drugs. The UN is not your friend. Its like the US government. These people want you sick and dependent and ruined financially.

  4. God bless you in your work there, I know it will be rough to try representing human beings.

  5. Codex is attempting to reduce the amount of vitamins allowable in products to an absurdly low level based on arbitrary bureaucratic decisions having nothing to do with published scientifically documented safety information. They seem unaware of MSDS reports and LD-50s. Its an exercise if international stupidity. Hoping you folks are aware of this and of all the various publications documenting the real safe dosage levels. If not I would be happy to send you some of the publications….like Adrienne Bendich’s, Lawrence Machlin, Abe Hoffer, et.al

  6. I have been following Codex for about 5 years now, since before Obama’s election in 2008. At the time, Obama formed topic groups to see what was important to voters. I attended the healthcare group, and we asked Obama not to adopt the Codex out of hand. I’m glad to see that governments are not required to adopt it as a whole. And I very much appreciate ANH-USA following up and representing us at the meeting in December. Thank you!

  7. Thank you for representing us at the Codex gathering. It appears that the will of the public does not make a difference to this body of law makers.

  8. Hello – Thank you for participating in the Codex meetings. I agree with you that harmonizing US food standards with Codex Alimentarius rules and regulations is very worrisome. People need to retain freedom to determine which food to eat, as natural and organic as possible and should at all times have the right to take supplements in dosages they desire or which have been recommended by their natural health care providers.

  9. We are so fortunate to have your immense guardianship to protect natural health interests in the face of such alarming and intimidating agendas as Codex Al. represents.
    Rachael Rocamora

  10. Your emails always say “Sign up for our Newsletter” and “Subscribe to our Newsletter” Is the Newsletter different from these informative emails that I already receive and am grateful for?

  11. Foods should not be unhealthy. Any food engineered to be deficient in any nutrient must have a warning label on it or on any product made from that “food’. Any food engineered to manufacture a toxin must have a warning label on it or on any product made from that ‘food’. I believe that half the cost of non-trauma health care in the United States can be attributed to the United States eating the most nutrient deficient foods and the most toxic foods in the World. http://FarTooMuch.Info/GMHC.htm

  12. ANH-USA represents the concerns ad welfare of the people. Please take ALL their input with the highest regard and implement.

  13. Please work as hard as you can in our favor. Codex Alimentarius, which I’ve been following for the past 5 years, is working very hard to take away any individual rights and freedoms when it comes to what we eat (organic, healthy, grown in own garden) vs factory-made foodstuffs, or if we’re allowed to have supplements–and then how much are we “allowed” to have? Only what the Codex says we can have, even if that is woefully inadequate, or not enough to heal a person’s damaged system?
    We have to FIGHT to keep what we already have and not allow our rights to be eroded any more than they already have been.
    Please be our united voice and fight to protect what we still have/are able to do.
    It would be wonderful if the USA did NOT subscribe to Codex Alimentarius at all. Knowing, though, how the chemical and pesticide companies, the big-Ag companies (who were against GMO labeling), the medical complex, are all in it together to keep us sick and diseased and money-making machines for them through us being sick, we need to remain OUT OF Codex Alimentarius.
    Like all things, the minute we get sucked into Codex, little by little, every little food and health and supplement freedom/freedom of choice we have will be taken away from us. Watch what will start happening with Obamacare. How the big Ag companies were able to defeat the GMO labeling act in CA. How all of these complexes/companies are working so very, very hard to keep us in the dark–dumb, blind, and ignorant. And sick and dis-eased, so they can profit off us.
    I want to help myself and keep myself healthy, as well as my family. I need the good, organic food and the supplements at healthy and therapeutic levels to do so.
    Thank you. Please fight for us and our rights.

  14. Good to see you are on this panel. Codex smacks of big money, big bully attitude. Please do your utmost to protect us against these practices. And please keep us informed on Codex antics.

  15. Unless this has been changed in recent years, the EU requires their member nations to only trade with those other countries who abide by Codex standards. What do you think our leaders are going to do if Codex isn’t agreed to completely in the U.S.? Does anyone think they will uphold health freedom and DSHEA if we lose our trading partners?

  16. If supplements are outlawed here, it will drive the trade underground where quality would almost surely be compromised. Both seller and buyer would be subject to criminal charges. All told, it would be the same as Prohibition was, which failed. We don’t need to travel down that road.

  17. Thank you for your dedication on this! This would be so devestating to supplement and bioidentical hormone companies that truly care about health and wellness.

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