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- Established in 1963, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CODEX) is responsible for creating global standards, guidelines and codes of practice for the food and nutrition industries.
- CODEX is the primary political battlefield where the war is being waged over who will control and regulate the global food and nutrient supply.
- CODEX is funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is now the second largest funder of the WHO after the U.S. government. The multinational drug and chemical industries and their investors also figure prominently among the lists of WHO donors.
- While the adoption by countries of the various standards and guidelines developed by CODEX is theoretically optional, the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 1 January 1995 essentially changed their international status in that they became used by the WTO as the benchmark in its adjudication of international trade disputes involving foods. This effectively gave CODEX standards and guidelines legal status in the global trade system and has acted as a strong inducement for WTO member countries to implement them into their national legislation.
- There are currently a total of 24 active CODEX committees, each dealing with a different aspect or region of the global food trade.
- Over the past 57 years CODEX committees have produced a total of 362 Codex standards, guidelines and codes of practice, covering essentially every category of food.
- While CODEX claims to be protecting the health of consumers, its primary stakeholders are the pharmaceutical, chemical, biotech and industrial-scale agriculture industries. Representatives from these industries are regular attendees at CODEX meetings and see vitamin-rich organic foods and supplements as a threat to their interests. Under the influence of these industries, the standards, guidelines and codes of practice produced by CODEX committees are specifically designed to counter this threat.
- The standards, guidelines and codes of practice produced by the 24 active CODEX committees explicitly allow residues of pesticides to be contained in foods, residues of veterinary drugs to be contained in foods, the use of artificial food additives in foods, and the irradiation of foods. The genetic modification of foods is also permitted, with CODEX specifically treating such foods as ‘substantially equivalent’ to regular foods.
- The CODEX guidelines for the production of organic foods permit the use of substances such as sulfur dioxide, which can cause allergic reactions in some people, and carrageenan, for which there is evidence that it is associated with the formation of ulcers in the intestines and cancerous tumors in the gut. The use of ethylene is also permitted for artificially inducing kiwifruit and bananas to ripen; for the degreening of citrus fruits; as a flowering agent for pineapples; and as a sprouting inhibitor for potatoes and onions. The allowing of these approaches in organic food production represents a disturbing step towards WTO-enforced acceptance for some of the same dubious and unnatural agricultural practices that non-organic foods are already subject to.
- The CODEX ‘Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements’ were finalized in 2005. Drafted using the European Union’s restrictive ‘Food Supplements Directive’ as a blueprint, the Guidelines mandate the setting of restrictive upper limits on the dosages of vitamins and minerals, and the prohibiting of claims that vitamin and mineral supplements are suitable for use in the prevention, alleviation, treatment or cure of disease. They also allow countries to regulate vitamins and minerals as drugs if they choose to do so.
- The CODEX ‘Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements’ were drafted by the ‘Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses’ (CCNFSDU). Hosted by the government of Germany and one of the first CODEX committees to be created, the CCNFSDU is the key committee controlling all aspects of CODEX work relating to nutrition. Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry have been regular attendees at its meetings. The first draft of the CODEX ‘Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements’ was submitted by Germany in 1992.
- The Chairperson of the CCNFSDU is Dr. Anja Bronstrup, an official from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Bonn. Bronstrup has previously worked for the European Union’s ‘European Food Safety Authority’ (EFSA).
- Within the CODEX system, the European Union (EU) is easily the strongest political influence. With their food laws now being made in Brussels rather than in their national parliaments, the 27 EU member states are essentially unable to argue against anything that is already law in their own countries. To all intents and purposes, the EU member states are now simply a supporting cast for the European Commission, the unelected executive body of Europe, whose representatives are now a dominant force at CODEX meetings.
- With CODEX standards, guidelines and codes of practice largely integrated into the national legislation of most industrialized countries, the CODEX Strategic Plan for 2020-2025 makes clear that encouraging further participation and support among developing countries is now one of its key goals.
- The CODEX Trust Fund plays a key role in enabling participation and support among developing countries. The list of countries seen as eligible for support includes 47 African countries. The Trust Fund report presented at the Codex Alimentarius Commission annual meeting in 2019 shows that, during 2018, the European Union and its member states were collectively the largest donors to this fund.
Videos about Codex
Articles about Codex
Reports on anti-Codex demonstrations organized by Dr. Rath and the Dr. Rath Health Foundation