Herbal Holocaust 2005

“Underground drug dealers may soon be peddling illicit Vitamin C and other dietary supplements, including herbs. Police may soon have the authority to break down your door and search your fridge for health food. Health enthusiasts could one day be rounded up like prisoners of war and have their homes confiscated and their livelihoods destroyed, like marijuana users and growers.”
I wrote the above ten years ago, in response to a move by the United Nations to create worldwide restrictions on the sale of natural vitamins and herbs. Health activists everywhere rallied and postponed the day when vitamins and herbs might be as illegal as pot. But today, one-world government types are united in a new attempt to create an international ban on health.

The United Nations organization responsible for the proposed ban is called “Codex Alimentarius”, which is Latin for “food code.” The idea behind Codex seems benign: to create international standards for foods and drugs in order to make trade between nations easier. Unfortunately, like most free-trade style reforms, multinational corporations with fingers in the UN have hijacked Codex and bent it to suit their interests. The relatively benign food code has become a weapon to destroy the health food market and pave the way for pharmaceutical domination of the market.

The reason health foods – including vitamins and herbs – are at risk is because Codex seeks to treat them like untested pharmaceutical drugs. If vitamins and herbs are – by definition – untested drugs, then they are not safe for consumption. This is the gist of Codex’s “Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” scheduled for its last rubber stamp in July 2005.

Codex guidelines will be enforced as standards by the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to a WTO decision issued in 1998. Any country signed into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is bound by WTO standards and decisions. This includes Canada, the United States, Mexico, most European Countries, and a host of others.

Seeing Codex’s direction, many WTO countries have adopted similar or even more stringent standards. Ten years ago Norway, Germany and Australia had restricted the sale of strong doses of Vitamin C, and the price of a weak dose skyrocketed to roughly 18 times the price for the same amount in Canada or the US. On August 1, 2005, the European Union will take up where Norway and Germany left off ten years ago and enact the EU Directive Relating to Food Supplements, which will enforce Codex-like standards in every European country. Although the European consumer group Alliance for Natural Health has taken the EU Directive to court, calling it a violation of the European Union’s constitution, their chances of success are unknown.

In Canada, when health activists began challenging Codex in the mid-90’s, they lobbied the government to classify vitamins and herbs as “foods, not drugs”. But their calls went unheard. Today, activists support Bill C-420, which would amend the Food and Drugs Act to specifically exclude vitamins and herbs from drug style regulation. Yet even if Bill C-420 passes, the WTO could tell Canada to apply Codex standards or face, potentially, billions of dollars in penalties. The same goes for any WTO country that might attempt to bypass Codex.

Who would have believed that, in the early 1900’s, DEA agents would swarm pastures tearing up the simple hemp plant reputed to be so good for coughs and colds? How much more suffering and inhumanity will result when other health foods are as illegal as cannabis? Cannabis lovers have seen – first hand – that any substance defined as a restricted drug may be oppressed with the full weight of the law, that they might be jailed or even shot for growing or simply possessing it.

Under Codex, Horsetail – growing wild in much of North America and widely regarded as a natural source of silica – is a restricted drug. Other common health-giving backyard herbs classified as restricted drugs include St John’s Wort, Comfrey and Sage, to name but a few. How long will it be before DEA agents swarm our yards and confiscate our freedoms in an attempt to eradicate these healing herbs from the face of the earth?

Codex is a threat not only to the health food industry and the people who support it, but also to the freedoms of peoples everywhere.