March 21, 2010
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Commission (EC) have been working on establishing dosage limits on vitamins and supplements within the European Union (EU) using flawed toxicology risk assessment methods to make such determinations. A recent paper published in the journal Toxicology exposes the approach as "fatally flawed," citing the junk science being used to try to limit access to effective doses of nutritional supplements.
Robert Verkerk PhD, lead author of the article and scientific and executive director of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) International, has been working for years to explain to various European and international authorities the illogic of using toxicologic risk analysis to assess proper nutrient dosages. His paper in Toxicology is his most extensive and thorough critique thus far.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission, created jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations back in 1963 to establish a world food code, established its guidelines for vitamin and mineral supplements back in 2005. Though not technically enforceable, especially in nations like the U.S. where such provisions would be wholly unconstitutional, the guidelines suggest establishing upper safe limits on vitamin and mineral supplements using the same toxicologic risk assessment methods used on dangerous toxins like mercury and lead.
In his paper, Verkerk lambasts the slightly modified version of the EU's method of assessing nutrients that is based on the Codex recommendations. According to his analysis, the vitamin and mineral limits currently being proposed are so low that one would exceed them by eating a simple junk food meal.
Two health trade associations in the U.K. recently conducted an analysis of their own that found that implementation of the limits in their country would end up shutting down over 700 independent retail stores, causing a loss in sales of over 100 million British pounds and costing at least 4,000 jobs. The Health Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Health Stores presented these findings to the UK Parliament back in December.
The Irish Association of Health Stores and ANH International both filed complaints with the European Parliament's Petitions Committee for redress in the matter. All petitions put forward thus far against the proposed limits, including scientific information exposing the methodology as unsound, have been ignored by both the EFSA and EC.
ANH International and other concerned groups from across Europe are proposing that the EFSA and EC stop the implementation of any vitamin and mineral supplement limits.