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Most supplements to be banned in Europe by Aug 2005

Most supplements to bebanned in Europe by Aug 2005



" Two years ago, I told you about the passage of the European Union (EU) 
Directive on Dietary Supplements. This directive, which is part of a larger 
form of legislation called Codex Alimentarius, severely restricts access to 
natural health products in Europe. At the time, it probably seemed a long 
way off: After all, the law wasn't to go into effect for several years 
following the initial passage.

Unfortunately, that several years is up, and the EU Directive is on track to 
take full effect in August 2005-less than a year from now--and by 2007, the 
scene described above will certainly be a reality for many, many people. 
Obviously, this is devastating news for Europe. But thanks to some 
pre-existing international agreements made by the U.S., the EU Directive 
will be just as devastating for the natural health community here. The main 
difference is that while the Directive has been big news in Europe for some 
time, it's been virtually ignored by U.S. media, which means that the severe 
restrictions it calls for will sneak up on most people and rob us all of our 
freedom to choose natural alternatives before we even know what's happening. 
That's why I and many of my colleagues in the health publishing world have 
done our best to keep you informed of the Directive's developments-and their 
consequences for the U.S.-over the years. And why we've decided to make a 
big push in our September newsletters by covering it in-depth.

Simply put, we're down to the wire, and if we don't act immediately, we will 
be facing the same fate as Europeans. There are steps you can take to get 
the word out and, hopefully, to diffuse this ticking time bomb. But first, 
let's take a few minutes and recount some of the specifics included in the 
Directive so that you know exactly what it is we're fighting against.

5,000 products set to disappear

The EU Directive classifies vitamins and minerals in Europe as "medical 
drugs" rather than dietary supplements, which means that they're subject to 
government regulation in terms of dosage and availability. It gets worse: 
There are many nutrients known to be vital to optimal health that are not on 
the government's RDA nutrient list including chromium picolinate, lysine, 
and selenium. Under the Directive, these types of supplements are banned 
from over-the-counter sale. Put simply, it will be illegal to buy them 
without a prescription.

The supplements that will be available will be restricted to multi-vitamins 
containing no more than 100 percent of the established RDA amounts, which 
are usually useless, trivial quantities--and they'll be far more expensive 
than what we have now.

This Directive, for all intents and purposes, makes it illegal for people to 
keep themselves healthy by supplementing with essential nutrients.

Plus, the Directive only allows supplements to be made from a list of 15 
minerals and 13 vitamins. That leaves out at least 40 minerals important in 
human metabolism and forbids the use of the most bio-available forms of 
vitamin complexes. In essence, it means that all nutritional supplements 
will be virtually the same-the specific combinations might vary, but the 
types and amounts of nutrients will be identical-no matter what product 
they're formulated into.

So, for instance, a middle-aged woman in Liverpool, England, who has a 
dangerously elevated homocysteine level will no longer have the option of 
reducing her risk of heart disease with a vitamin B dosage of her own 
choosing. If she's currently taking 5 mg of folic acid daily, under the new 
Directive she will be legally restricted to a prescription of 1 mg per day. 
If she's taking a 100 mg dose of B6, she'll be restricted to 10 mg. And her 
pantothenic acid (B5) intake of 500 mg will drop to 200 mg. These maximum 
dosage levels have been chosen to "protect" her (so we're told), when in 
fact the protection she needs the most will be unavailable.

In addition to these essential B vitamins, low maximum dosage levels have 
also been set for vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin E. But at least they made 
it on the list of allowed nutrients.

Approximately 350 supplement ingredients are missing from the list. If they 
are not added to the list by June 2005, they will be deemed illegal 
throughout the European Union. Supplement manufacturers may submit 
"technical dossiers" to support applications for the inclusion of individual 
elements or formulations on the so-called "positive list." But the EU has 
made this process so expensive and time consuming that many manufacturers 
simply can't afford the costs involved. As a result, around 5,000 safe 
formulas and nutrients that have been on the market for decades will soon be 

Saving us from ourselves

Of course, these regulations were all passed under the guise of "protecting 
the public." According to the World Health Organization, popular alternative 
medicines are often "misused" and may "harm patients." They point out that 
the "incorrect use" of alternative therapies has caused deaths in wealthy 
countries where more and more patients rely on them.

You could also argue that the incorrect use of kitchen knives, water skis, 
and even plastic bags have all caused deaths! Not to mention the use of 
AMA-sanctioned medical procedures and FDA-approved drugs. The key phrase 
here is "incorrect use."

The WHO could do everyone a service by first addressing the incorrect use of 
accepted mainstream therapies that have caused far more widespread death and 
adverse reactions than natural medicine therapies ever have or ever will.

Although they are few and far between, there are mistakes and fatalities 
associated with alternate therapies, supplements, and herbal remedies. It's 
always important to keep in mind that many of the compounds and herbs used 
in natural medicine treatments are very powerful. They have risks and 
potential side effects, which is why I always recommend that you work 
closely with skilled natural medicine practitioners whenever you use these 
therapies. But even with their cautions, natural remedies are far, far safer 
than prescription drugs, and one reason might be the users themselves. An 
article published in the journal Psychologist noted that people who seek out 
natural and alternative treatments are generally more health conscious than 
non-users, and believe that by making sound lifestyle choices they can 
influence their own health. But not if the EU has anything to say about it.

Where's the "fight for freedom" when you need it?

You'd think that such blatant abuse of power to restrict people's personal 
liberty would have our own self-proclaimed freedom-loving government up in 
arms (literally). But there's an even darker side to all this, and it has 
little--if anything-- to do with health or looking out for people's best 

Even if the American government didn't want to go along with the regulations 
imposed by the EU Directive, we really wouldn't have a choice. In fact, the 
United States never has acknowledged or stated any form of acceptance for 
the EU Directive. But hard as it is to believe, this "Directive" can 
actually over-ride United States law if it isn't stopped in Europe.

As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. will be bound by 
any finalized standards put forth in the Directive.

If we choose to ignore the regulations our WTO-affiliation binds us to, we 
would face severe trade sanctions with other WTO countries, which could 
potentially cripple part of our economy. And there's no way that our already 
anti-natural-medicine government is going to let that happen over access to 
vitamins and minerals. So the best way to ensure it doesn't get to that 
point is to do everything we can to stop it now--before it happens.

Protect your rights with these 3 steps

There are three actions to take. The most urgent is to support a case 
brought by the British Alliance for Natural Health to overturn the European 
Food Supplements Directive. In January 2004, the Alliance's attorneys (a 
firm which has successfully had another European Directive overturned) won 
the first round in the High Court of Justice in London; the appeal was 
referred to the European Court of Justice. Please visit the Alliance's 
website,, read about their case, and most 
importantly, make a donation to support their efforts to protect everyone's 
supplements, including yours. Even a few dollars will help; a few dollars 
from each of us will add up. If we can help them overturn this food 
supplement dictatorship in Europe, it won't ever come here.

The second action I urge you to take is to write, call, and e-mail your 
state's Senators and Congressmen. Tell your Senators to oppose S.722, the 
Dietary Supplement Safety Act, and tell your Congressmen to oppose H.R. 
3377, the Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act. These two bills put 
the wheels in motion for restrictions similar to those outlined in the EU 
Directive to become U.S. law, which would be even more threatening to us 
than just an inter- national code of standards. These extremely dangerous 
and misnamed proposals would allow the FDA to "roll back" most of the small 
amount of health care freedom you and I re-gained with the 1994 "DSHEA" law 
we all fought so hard for. Even if we're successful in helping the Alliance 
for Natural Health defeat the European Food Supplements Directive, if these 
bills are passed into law, our supplement choices will shrink dramatically 

The final step to take is to tell your U.S. Senators and Congressmen to 
support U.S. Representative Ron Paul's H.R. 1146, the American Sovereignty 
Restoration Act. This accurately named (for once) legislation would make the 
Constitution of the United States the supreme law of the land again, and 
restore law-making and judging power to our elected representatives and 
American courts, respectively. Please don't leave this off your list; in the 
long run, it's the most important action of the three.

Please make a donation-of any size-to the Alliance for Natural Health as 
soon as you can. Then, please write, call, fax, and e-mail your U.S. 
Senators and Representative as often as you can, telling them to oppose S. 
722 and H.R. 3377, and to support American freedom by voting for H.R. 1146.

For further information on the European Union Directive on Dietary 
Supplements and on the Codex Alimentarius legislation, contact the American 
Holistic Health Association , the Alliance for Natural Health  or the International Advocates for Health 
For updates and info, contact scott at planttrees dot org.