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NZ Health Trust - Newsletter No 16 - 31st May 2005

Hello to all our subscribers.It's time for another update about what has been happening in the fight to defeat the proposed Trans Tasman Joint Agency to regulate all therapeutic products.

In this email we cover 

  • Our view on Codex
  • An urgent call for your support


Many people have been asking us about Codex - what impact it will have on us in NZ and how the Codex situation may be affected by the Joint Australian therapeutic Goods Agency (TGA) proposal.The fact is Codex is providing another very real example of how the TGA proposal would mean a worrying loss of control, particularly to NZ but also to Australia 

This is an area we have been spending more time looking into and we will continue to come to terms with it in the next few weeks. Here's a brief overview to help us understand what Codex is all about and how it only serves to highlight our concern about the future for the Natural Health Industry.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is an international group formed as an off-shoot of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Committee of the United Nations (FAO) and is designed to provide international standards for food products.  Although the focus is food this has been taken to include nutritional supplements and in July of this year Codex will meet in Rome to ratify the international standards they have developed for nutritional supplements.

These standards include limiting allowable ingredients and setting maximum permitted levels for remaining ingredients. As currently drafted the standards are predicted to seriously reduce the effectiveness and availability of natural products.The standards, if ratified, will not automatically bind the member countries, like Australia and NZ, and in the usual course it would be for the individual Governments to decide whether or not to adopt them as law and furthermore they relate to foods not medicines.  That doesn't sound too bad but consider 2 vital points:

  1. Once these standards are set as international best practise it becomes almost impossible for governments in a practical sense not to follow them.  They take refuge in the wisdom of supposedly greater minds and hide behind those decisions whereas to decide not to adopt them, forces them to make decisions for themselves and be held accountable for it and few politicians or regulators have that sort of courage.   Furthermore, our obligations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) oblige us to follow and adopt international standards wherever possible.  In practical terms then, the Codex standards will bind us even if they don't do so technically.  Codex can pass the buck to local regulators saying "it is their decision whether or not to adopt the standards" and regulators say "we are obliged to follow international standards" - once again no-one is accountable and the net result is that the consumer suffers. 
  2. The second matter concerns the TGA proposal.   It is true to say that Codex relates to foods and the TGA covers medicines. As the recent fact sheet put out by the TGA says, the TGA will not be bound by any standards published by Codex. We do not necessarily disagree, our concern is what we see as a very real likelihood that once international standards are published determining supposedly "safe" ingredients or "safe" levels of various ingredients, it is highly likely that a medicines regulator, charged with controlling dietary supplements will, although not formally adopting those standards, closely reflect them.  

If the Joint Trans Tasman agency were to proceed, that would be the body that would make decisions about types of ingredients and safe levels of ingredients. It then would be the body that decides how closely its own permitted levels would reflect the "international standards" for the same ingredients put out by Codex. New Zealand wouldn't be able to make this decision for itself. To the NZ Health Trust it seems almost certain that we would find the TGA permitted levels etc would in practise mirror those announced by Codex.  So immediately we begin to see the practical effect of giving away control of therapeutic products to this Australian agency.  Rather than NZ having the final say about what ingredients and levels are safe, the TGA would make this decision for us, whether we like it or not!

When we finally get rid of the threat of the Joint Agency, New Zealand may still have to deal with the Codex standards but at least that is a decision we as New Zealanders can have some influence over.Overall, the way the Codex standards are shaping up makes it look to be just another angle from which the independent natural health industry is being attacked worldwide and forced to be assessed against a toxicology standard rather than a nutritional and effects based standard. 

Unless the general public becomes extremely vigilant and requires accountability from our politicians, the natural health industry will be the innocent victim and consumer's health will be the poorer for it.

The NZHT is continuing to consider this issue in depth and will keep you advised.All this just shows how important it is to be heard. This is why we are continuing to work so hard to raise public awareness and why we want to get as much support as possible using our "Urgent Support" forms on the web site.

If you are concerned about these continued international attempts to decimate the natural health industry you need to fill out the form linked below and then send this message to your friends.

An urgent call for your support

If you want to have your say without going to Wellington yourself to tell the MPs of your concerns and wishes, click this link to add your Support to NZ Health Trust. 
Many thanks to those of you that have already done so.
It is vital for MPs to understand just how many people do not want this Australian based Joint Agency making decisions for New Zealand.

Click here
to Order pre printed Forms in bulk – Order forms for distribution on mass to friends, colleagues, customers or clients.

Kind regards
Dave Sloan




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