We attended another Codex meeting. Here’s what YOU need to know from the front lines!
For the second year in a row, ANH-USA attended the meeting of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) in Germany as a nongovernmental member of the American delegation. Our Executive Director isn’t even stateside yet, but her report was too urgent to be delayed.
Codex Alimentarius is a joint project of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. It’s a collection of internationally adopted food standards and guidelines intended to facilitate global trade. There are a number of specialized subcommittees whose recommendations are formally adopted by the Codex Executive Committee. The CCNFSDU is of particular importance to natural health practitioners and consumers, as it advises the Codex Commission on general nutrition issues, dietary supplements, and GMOs.
Here’s what was discussed at the meeting:
“Nutrient Reference Values”: A Fundamental Misunderstanding of Nutrient Supplementation
One of the CCNFSDU’s tasks is to set “Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) for Food Labeling Purposes.” Translation: NRVs are the intake levels of nutrients deemed adequate to meet the needs of most people.
According to most natural health experts, the NRVs set by the CCNFSDU are far too low for maintaining optimal health, much less correcting nutrient-based deficiencies and imbalances. Last year, the CCNFSDU recommended extremely low NRVs for several nutrients, and Codex formally adopted those recommendations.
In recommending the daily intake recommended values (DIRVs), for example, the amounts for men and women are averaged together to come up with a single value. This is particularly wrong for nutrients like iron-women and men have wildly differing iron needs-but once the decision is made, the commissioner said, it cannot be changed. This is particularly troubling: not only may the determinations be inappropriate, but there is no process to make corrections, regardless of the need or the scientific support for the correction!