With my dear friend’s permission, I have posted his latest article. It is well worth the read. Please don’t just read this article. Please go to www.codexfund.com and act.
Health Freedom: Challenges and Successes
By Dick Williams, IIPA Board Member and Health Freedom Advocate
When Mark Twain said, “No man’s liberty or property is safe while Congress is in session,” he must have been thinking about the 21st century challenges we in the United States are continuously facing and fighting in Congress and with the FDA. Just when we think we can breathe easily for a moment, another challenge is thrown at us. Unfortunately, as long as Big Pharma and the FDA try to discredit the healing benefits of natural supplementation and natural treatment modalities and garner members of Congress in its corner, our lives will never be fully at ease. Fortunately, we have the support of many good people who are concerned with having the freedom to make decisions about how they treat their bodies, and we have many good health-oriented companies and lobbyists who are standing with us as each new challenge arrives. Once again, I want to point out that if all of the natural health supplement companies and its members would unite under one banner, it would be easier and less expensive to get the job done than it is with many “soldiers” running around and trying to do the job while supporting themselves on a limited budget. This is not a contest…together we stand and win; divided we fall and lose. This is why I always direct everyone to www.Codexfund.com; participating and uniting under its banner would certainly be a more cohesive and less expensive way to keep the torches burning.
There are members of Congress who would like to see our nutritional supplement laws comply with the international standards set forth by members of the European Union. Attorney Jonathan Emord said, “When the clock struck 12:01 on January 1, 2010, Europe entered a nutrition science Dark Age.” At this point, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) determined that only a small percent of food supplements are safe and will remain on the European market. By law, no food supplements may now be lawfully sold anywhere in Europe unless EFSA scientists determine that the food supplement is safe and bioavailable. Of over 40,000 documentations submitted on various food supplements, the EFSA has limited its authorizations to only certain vitamin and minerals whose supposed upper safe limits (USL) are of such low concentrations that they will accomplish little in improving or maintaining one’s health. This action affects us here in the United States as well. It will block exporting American dietary supplements to Europe, which will have a significant effect on our economy and many companies who deal in direct sales. BEWARE…ranking members of Congress and leading political managers at the FDA are enthralled with the European method of supplement control, and would like nothing better than to replicate it here in the USA through harmonizing American laws with those of the European Union. If we allow the re-formulation of our nutritional supplements to comply with the international standards of the EU – we lose. Our supplements would become low dose and lacking in vital nutrient forms, as it would be too difficult to comply with the new standards. We MUST keep our safe and effective supplements, herbs, and alternative medicines available to us. We MUST continue to fight to keep our natural healing modalities and clinicians free. THIS IS OUR HEALTH-FREEDOM RIGHT!
2010 has proven to be another very active year for dietary supplements and health freedom activities on Capitol Hill. For some reason, these guys just love to pester us; someday, they will hopefully realize that we are dedicated to preserving our health freedoms and are in it for the long haul…nothing is going to make us go away until the job is done! And, hopefully, someday we will have more representatives in Congress who share our views and support our ideals.
After Congress’s summer vacation in August, they returned with a full plate of unfinished business to attend to before their adjournment at the end of September to go home and campaign for re-election. This worked somewhat in our favor because Congress knew there were certain bills they must fight to pass so their constituents would be pleased, and there were also certain bills they knew could be their death sentence at election time if they passed them. Time limitations were a key factor in determining which bills would or would not be heard.
One of our lobbyist, Beth Clay’s, greatest achievements during Congress’s session before summer break was in securing support from Senators Hatch and Harkin during the mark up of S.510, the Food Safety Bill, who stated on record that the FDA does not have the authority to adopt regulations affecting dietary supplements from CODEX without Congress’ permission. This support and statement provided comfort with the wording of S.510…..until Senators Leahy and Franken introduced S.3767 in mid-September. The scheme behind this bill is to exploit the public’s concern about food safety.
S.3767, titled as the Food Safety Accountability Act, is a threat to natural and other food products. If passed, it would mandate fines and prison sentences of up to ten (10) years for misbranding and/or adulterating food products. Since existing laws already exist to punish anyone who commits this crime, this bill serves little purpose. Passage of this bill would mean that not just the FDA would be involved when there is a ‘misbranding’ or ‘adulteration’, but the Justice Department as well. This bill is bad for the food industry in general, but it is HORRIBLE for the dietary supplement industry. Remember, ‘misbranding’ or adulteration’ are the mechanisms the FDA uses when they do not agree with the language on the label or the packaging of a supplement. (All of this apparently came about because of the egg salmonella incident, which has been resolved.) Because of this latest development and the interaction the bills would have with each other, it is imperative that neither S.510 nor S. 3767 be passed! S.510 has been so altered from its original concept that it needs be totally thrown out and begun anew.
Congress has now adjourned again to go home and tell their assemblage of constituents how wonderful they are and pray for re-election. When Congress returns for its Lame-Duck session after elections, they must be greeted with support and requests for deleting both Senate Bills S.3767 and S.510. In my opinion, Congress needs to just put off any food safety legislation until 2011 and the 112th Congress. Unfortunately, since it is forecast that the Republicans may be taking over the House and increasing numbers in the Senate, the Democrats will be doing everything within their power to pass as much existing legislative bills as possible, while they still have the majority control to influence the voting outcome. It has been estimated that they will attempt to cram as many as 20 pieces of legislation into the lame-duck session. Given the usual slow pace of the Senate, it also guarantees that Democrats will be hard-pressed to pass even a small part of their agenda.
All pending bills will die at the end of this Congress year and must be reintroduced at the beginning of a new two-year term. This means Congress will have to repeat the laborious process of holding committee hearings, markups and rounds of private negotiations before any legislation is brought to the floor again in 2011 or 2012. When Congress returns the week after elections, it will have six weeks to pass legislation before ending its session at Christmas. That’s a lot of work to be done in such a short time, if indeed they anticipate presenting, discussing and voting on 20 legislative bill proposals.
What can you do while Congress is on its election campaigning break? All members of the House of Representatives and 1/3rd of the US Senate are running for re-election. Make sure they know how you feel and what could influence the way you vote. Write to your members of Congress or the persons you intend to support and ask them these questions, which were compiled by Beth Clay. Their answers may influence your final vote.
• Do you support the rights of all Americans to make personal health decisions including the decision to use dietary supplements?
• Do you support the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA)?
• If elected, or re-elected, will you work to make sure consumers continue to have access to dietary supplements and complementary and alternative health practices?
• If elected, or re-elected, will you work to make sure practitioners of complementary and alternative health therapies are not forced out of the health promotion marketplace through onerous legislation or regulations?
• Do you and will you support health freedom?
We are fortunate to have a great Congressman here in Virginia, whom I truly believe is an honest and caring man. Randy Forbes recently talked about a study that was done on how individuals make decisions. What they found is that individuals disproportionately stick with the status quo, or doing what they have always done. They coined this observation the “status quo bias.” Randy says that our federal government suffers from the status quo bias; they always rely on the same decision-making model for decades. He says our federal government is wrapped so tightly in a status quo of bureaucratic red tape that there is no way to move quickly. Well ladies and gentlemen, I believe it is time for a change. Status quo does not work when you are dealing with critical health freedom issues in the 21st century. It is time our lawmakers become abreast of the times and needs of the people.
What should we anticipate in 2011? On March 23, 2010, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, introduced a bipartisan bill called “The Free Speech About Science Act” (FSAS) in the House. It may either be discussed in the lame-duck session or most likely re-introduced in the 2011 session. This bill aims to eliminate government censorship and give us all the information we need to make decisions about our own health. The premise is to provide food producers, manufacturers, and dietary supplement manufacturers a means to make well-substantiated disease or health-related claims on the label without FDA involvement. FSAS will allow a disease or health-related claim to be made based on ‘legitimate scientific research.’ While the FDA “presumably” wants to protect the American people from “snake oil,” the best scientific research on critical health issues is not “snake oil.” There are obviously numerous problems with the FDA’s over-restrictive approach to protecting us, one of which is their leniency towards Big Pharma and its unproven claims for drugs. FDA regulations currently prohibit any reference to a scientific study by manufacturers of a dietary supplement or producers of food relating to the health benefits. “The Free Speech About Science Act,” if honest in its presentation, will allow anyone, including food and supplement producers, to talk about legitimate, peer reviewed science and thus help consumers make wiser choices. It will enable all of us to better educate ourselves and take better care of the health of our families. We can assuredly count on opposition from the FDA since it restricts their ability to censor the dissemination of published scientific data, and by the drug companies fearing competition from natural health approaches based on diet, dietary supplements, and lifestyle. I will keep you posted on the progress of this bill, whose passage could be a panacea for our troubles with the FDA.
July 2 marked the one-hundred-year anniversary of the FDA……that is one hundred years of pretense by an agency often dubbed the Fear and Denial Administration. To celebrate, the FDA hosted a gala event at the Harvey W. Wiley federal building. The FDA, touted Dr. Wiley as the “Father of the Pure Food and Drugs Act, “signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. His descendents were invited to attend – none did. The FDA is proud of the heritage Dr. Wiley bestowed upon them. Apparently, they would like to forget what he actually believed. He was an adamant supporter of a true organic food supply for the entire American public. Dr. Wiley lived from 1844 – June 30, 1930. He was a chemist and the first Chief of the U.S. Bureau of Chemistry, later known as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Wiley wholeheartedly believed that preservatives in food posed a serious health problem, which over the course of a lifetime was certain to be toxic and contribute to ill health. He sought to introduce and implement food bills that would create his vision of a healthy food supply for America. Unfortunately, he was undermined and beleaguered every step of the way. As bills were introduced in Congress, all of them were killed – powerful lobbies had established themselves, even then. He was forced out of his job seven years later by politicians and industry shenanigans. He resigned and became Director of Foods, Sanitation, and Good Health for Good Housekeeping magazine, where he researched foods and was the originator of the highly respected Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. In 1929, at the age of 85, he decided the time had come for him to tell his story of how he was prevented by the food industry and various government officials from creating a wholesome food supply for America. His book is titled: “The History of a Crime Against the Food Law: The amazing story of the national food and drug laws intended to protect the health of the people perverted to protect the adulteration of food and drugs.” Dr. Wiley’s concluding words in his book are:
“If the Bureau of Chemistry had been permitted to enforce the law as it was written and as it tried to do, what would have been the condition now? No food product in our country would have any trace of benzoic acid, sulphurous acid or sulphites, or any alum or saccharin, save for medicinal purposes. No soft drink would contain any caffeine, or theobromine. No bleached flour would enter interstate commerce. Our foods and drugs would be wholly without any form of adulteration and misbranding.
‘The health of our people would be vastly improved and their life greatly extended. The manufacturers of our food supply, especially the millers, would devote their energies to improving the public health. The resistance of our people to infectious diseases would be greatly increased by a vastly improved and more wholesome diet.
‘Our example would be followed by the civilized world and thus bring to the whole universe the benefits which our own people had received. We would have been spared the ignominy and disgrace of great scientific men bending their efforts to defeat the purpose of one of the greatest laws ever enacted for the protection of the public welfare. Eminent officials of our Government would have escaped the indignation of outraged public opinion because they permitted and encouraged these frauds on the public. The cause of a whole diet would not have been put back for fifty or a hundred years. And last but least, this History of a Crime would never have been written.”
What a man! Don’t we wish he were alive today where his work would be appreciated by all who believe in Health Freedom and natural dietary supplements and foods? However, with people like you and the great supportive organizations we have, I am confident that we can win any battle that Congress, the FDA, Big Pharma, or anyone else throws at us!
I remain your advocate and supporter of Health Freedom,