Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Codex Alimentarius again

I've been Snopes'd by my own mother!  (Hi Mom!)

In the previous post I said that if we adopted Codex Alimentarius guidelines it would make garlic and peppermint illegal. I also said that Codex was founded by a former Nazi.  Mom thought I'd been hoaxed.  So I decided to dig a little deeper. I can tell you it's almost as bad.  Not quite, but almost. this site claims to sort out fact vs fiction on Codex Alimentarius. Particularly it mentions the video I'd posted a link to previously.

According to it, apparently Codex Alimentarius's guidelines don't prohibit culinary herbs for flavor (emphasis mine), and they don't have anything to say about medicinal herbs, since those are considered drugs not food.

“Codex last considered the issue of medicinal herbs in 1996, when the meeting of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) that took place in Bonn, Germany, in October 1996 considered a new proposal by the Codex Coordinating Committee for North America and the South West Pacific to establish lists of ‘Potentially Harmful Herbs and Botanical Preparations sold as Foods’.
Subsequent to the 1996 CCNFSDU meeting the Codex Alimentarius Commission met in Geneva in June 1997, and agreed that no further action was needed concerning herbs and botanicals, on the grounds that this was a matter for national authorities to address. The matter was therefore deleted from the Commission's Work Programme.
As such, it can be seen that Codex does not restrict or eliminate most medicinal herbs, and nor does it limit the conditions which can be treated using medicinal herbs to a small number of trivial ones.”

Re. adoption of Codex as American law:
This is from
“In 1995, the FDA issued a policy statement saying that international standards such as Codex would supersede U.S. laws governing all food. Under the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which is illegal under current U.S. law, but is legal under international law, the U.S. is required to conform to Codex as it stands on December 31, 2009. “
I checked Wikipedia about CAFTA and it's still not part of US law yet. says about Codex:
“Vitamins and minerals are not under the gun. Dietary supplements are.”
It provided this link to a 2005 document of Codex giving standards for vitamins and minerals. This is about dosage, but not limiting dosages to ridiculously small, only that the dose should be at least 15% of the RDA and at most whatever 100% minus what the person taking it normally eats in vitamins from food. But that's the dose of one pill, and of course you can always take more pills if you want to super-dose on vitamins for some reason, although they don't want to allow packaging that encourages you do that:

Re. Nazi war criminal(s) starting Codex Alimentarius, according to apparently there is no concrete proof of this online (like scans of source documents); however Codex's website isn't exactly all that forthcoming about their own origins either. Here's what the author of the Infowars article had to say:

“Although created under the auspices of the FAO and the WHO, there is some controversy regarding individuals who may or may not have participated in the establishment of Codex. Many anti-Codex organizations have asserted that Nazi war criminals, Fritz Ter Meer[6] and Hermann Schmitz[7] in particular, were principal architects of the organization. Because many of these claims are made with only indirect evidence, or no evidence at all, one might be tempted to disregard them at first glance. However, as the allegations gain more and more adherents, Codex has attempted to refute them. In its Frequently Asked Questions section, Codex answers the question, “Is it true that Codex was created by a former war criminal to control the world food supply?”[8]  It then goes on to answer the charges by stating:
No. It is a false claim. You just need to type the words “Codex Alimentarius” in any search engine and you will find lots of these rumors about Codex. Usually the people spreading them will give no proof but will ask you to send donations or to sign petitions against Codex. 
Truthful information about Codex is found on the Internet - there is nothing to hide from our side – we are a public institution working in public for the public – we are happy if people want to know more about our work and ask questions. There is an official Codex Contact Point in each member country who will be pleased to answer your questions on Codex.[9]
But, as one can see from the statement above, Codex’s response does very little to answer this question beyond simply disagreeing with it. While it is true that many individuals who make this claim provide little evidence for it, the presentation of the information does not necessarily negate its truthfulness. In fact, Codex offers its own website as a source for accurate information about the organization; yet, beyond the FAQ section, there is nothing to be found that is relevant to the “war criminal” allegations. Furthermore, the website is virtually indecipherable, almost to the point of being completely useless. In the end, this response raises more questions than it answers. This is because Codex, if it wanted, could put these rumors to rest by simply posting a list of the individuals and organizations that funded or played an integral role in its creation. However, it does nothing of the sort. Beyond mentioning the FAO and the WHO, we are completely unaware of who or how many other individuals and organizations participated in the creation of Codex Alimentarius.

The “war criminal” claims center around the chemical conglomerate known as I.G. Farben. I.G. Farben was made up of several German chemical firms including, BASF, Bayer, Hoechst and AGFA,[10] that merged together. It was essentially the manufacturing wing of the Third Reich and was the engine behind the Nazi war machine. The company provided the vast majority of explosives and synthetic gasoline used for the military conquest and murder of millions. It also manufactured the now infamous Zyklon-B gas used in the gas chambers.  Not only that, but it was influential in the conducting of experiments on concentration camp victims. Indeed, camp victims were often purchased outright at the behest of the company for the express purposes of testing by several different branches of the company, particularly Bayer and Hoechst.

Without I.G. Farben, the German wars simply could not have been sustained. During the Nuremberg war trials, the tribunal convicted 24 board members and executives of the company and dissolved it into several different daughter companies. Namely, BASF, Hoechst (later to be known as Aventis), and Bayer. By 1951, virtually all 24 of these executives were released, including Fritz Ter Meer and Hermann Schmitz. Ter Meer had been a member of the I.G. Farben executive committee from 1926-1945 and also a member of the working committee and the technical committee as well as a director of the infamous Section II. He was also the ambassador to Italy given full power by the Reich Minister for armaments and war production and was the industrialist most responsible for Auschwitz. Schmitz was also a member of the I.G. Farben executive committee from 1926-1935, and was chairman of the board and “head of finances” from 1935-1945. He was also head of military economics and a member of the Nazi party. Both men were found guilty by the Nuremberg war tribunal in 1948, yet Schmitz was released in 1950 and Ter Meer in 1952.[11]
After all this, Schmitz was appointed board member of the German bank of Berlin West in 1952 and in 1956, the honorary chairman of the board of Rheinish steel plants. Ter Meer, however, was even more successful. Upon his release, he was appointed board member of Bayer in 1955 and, in 1956 was appointed chairman. In the years following, he would take on many additional roles such as chairman of the board of Theodore Goldschmidt AG, deputy chairman of the board of Commerzbank and Bank-Association AG, as well as a board member of the Waggonfabrik Uerdingen, Duesseldorger (sic) Waggonfabrik AG, the bank association of West Germany, and United Industrial Enterprises AG.[12] These are documented connections for both of these men. Indeed, Ter Meer’s’ connections to the pharmaceutical firm Bayer earned him a foundation named in his honor, the Fritz Ter-Meer Foundation.[13] Through all of this however, this writer could not confirm that either Ter Meer or Schmitz had direct connections to the creation of Codex Alimentarius.

However, Codex does nothing to dispel the allegations besides simply disagreeing with them and the connections are not at all implausible. Codex is very secretive about its beginnings, as evidenced on its website where it only states that it was created at the behest of the FAO and the WHO. It is highly unlikely that such an organization would be created without the assistance, input, and even funding of privately owned international corporations. Thanks to both the anti-Codex community and Codex Alimentarius itself, there is no evidence (again at least to this author) that documents which individuals or corporations were involved in its establishment. However, there are other ties that lend more credence to the belief that war criminals played a role in the creation of Codex."
Below that there was a list of links, but none of them seemed to list the “other ties”, they more seemed like a list of sources for the rest of the article.

So here are my retractions/corrections after reading a lot of stuff:
  • Codex may have been started by a former Nazi, there are a lot of people asserting this, but I have no proof (i.e. source documents). They could make a list of the individuals who got them started but they don't, only saying they were formed by the FAO and the WHO.
  • Codex recommendations are not law in the US, but it has informed food laws everywhere since the 1960's. The more global we become the more we'll have to worry about it, and we don't seem to be becoming any less global anytime soon.  Plus there's that thing about not prevailing in trade disputes unless you conform to Codex's code.  Perhaps only our status as a trade giant makes us able to resist.
  • Codex doesn't have recommendations about medicinal herbs. They are outside its purview. It said that individual countries should take care of that.  However, perhaps its recommendations regarding food are a bit too big-agra and big-pharma slanted, i.e. allowing the use of bovine growth hormone, fluoridation of water, antibiotics in food animals, etc.
  • If an herb is used for flavor in food, Codex makes recommendations regarding its purity as a crop . i.e. no foreign objects, no mold, etc.  I didn't see any caps of amount of the herbs when used as flavoring.
  • There was a law passed in 1994 in the US called DSHEA that deregulates supplements. It has come under attack from time to time.Our laws re. supplements are a lot more liberal than the EU's.  As long as DSHEA stays in place we won't have to worry about some global regulations, but like any law it could come under attack again.
  • We have much more to fear from S.510, the stupid so called food safety law. Under this law, it would not be inconceivable for Homeland Security to go around busting organic farmers at their farmers market stands for lacking the "necessary" paperwork. Yes, the enforcement of this law is partly under Homeland Security. It also authorizes the FDA to create offices in foreign countries and try to alter those countries' food laws to match ours. So we are spending tax dollars trying to run other countries' food affairs for them.  Essentially this is almost like setting up our own version of Codex.


Adam said...

Hi - some of the best information on Codex on the web can be found here:

Codex is a supranational system of guidelines, standards and recommendations - not laws - which, in its own words, are aimed at “protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair practices in the food trade.” Which is shorthand for practices that suit big business and industrial food production, and work against small, innovative companies and natural healthcare in general.

What is interesting is that both the US market and the EU are used by Codex to 'road-test' certain aspects of its guidelines. The EU is imposing draconian limits on the health claims that producers are allowed to make about their products, for example, along with ridiculously low maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements - these legal frameworks are also being incorporated into Codex' global set of guidelines. In the US, the legal standards around meat hygiene, GM foods and food additives are treated in the same manner.

The ANH has a US arm as well:

Best wishes, Adam.

Penny Pincher Personal Finance said...

Thanks Adam. More and more I think that the solution is for people to produce their own food to the greatest extent possible. Or start eating foods that big agra considers not worth their attention. Of course that is difficult in a city.