Updates From the Vitamin Lawyer II
This was a message to vitamin company presidents from the vitamin lawyer on Aug. 20, 2005 –editor
Ralph Fucetola JD
58 Plotts Road – Newton, NJ 07860
How to Protect your Bottom Line in Uncertain Times
he Nutrient Access Initiative – Circle of Presidents
Dear Vitamin Company President,
I am an attorney who has practiced law in the dietary supplement industry for over thirty years. During that time I lobbied for DSHEA and successfully defended access to the nutrient DHEA, among other accomplishments. Now, due to immanent legal threats to consumer nutrient access, I am now working full time with health freedom activists to ensure consumer access to high quality nutrients.
You have probably heard rumors and concerns that consumer access to high-potency, leading-edge nutrients is under attack both domestically and internationally. And you have probably also heard the misleading assurances that “there is no domestic threat to high potency nutrients” because the regulations only apply to the international arena. The reality, however, is quite different. Two recent international decisions and five bills recently introduced in Congress weave a complex web of threat and opportunity for the industry. It is very difficult to tell the players apart and most people do not know whether some international organization or another is helping or hindering access.
For example, the UN trade commission, Codex Alimentarius, that functions as the world food code agency, just last month adopted a framework for Vitamin and Mineral products that appears, at first look, to impose a very restrictive regulatory regime, including upper limits designed to be so low as to be ineffective to support health. Yet, unknown to most, at the same meeting, the parent international agencies (to which Codex must report), the WHO and FAO, have strongly criticized Codex for “failing to make a contribution to human health during [its] 42 years of operation”. The organization has been told to “revise” its outlook, structure and activities to promote nutrition for health instead of preventing access to nutrients.
Just days later, the European high court allowed the very restrictive EU Food Supplement Directive, with similar restrictions and unscientific “toxic risk analysis” methodology to stand. Some observers, including the attorneys for those who opposed the Directive, point out that the court seems to have limited the application of the Directive to synthetic nutrients, leaving natural products available, for the moment at least, although only at Codex-friendly, ultra low, biologically ineffective doses.
Will these international developments help or hinder US and internet vitamin companies and consumers? And what will happen later this year when the UN Food Safety Agency, tasked with finalizing the Codex nutrient list and doses, meets? Will the US delegates again betray the public policy unanimously enacted by Congress in 1994, when DSHEA, made it clear that Nutrients are foods and, as such, are not to be subjected to the controls properly reserved for dangerous drugs and industrial chemicals?
How can vitamin companies such as yours stay informed about developments that will greatly impact your business? Some of the leading industry associations actively negate these threats. Many people in the industry no longer trust the usual players, and with good reason.
By supporting this effort to represent your interests to both national and international agencies, the interests of consumers and the leading companies that serve them, your company can play a positive role. It is clear to me that we need to work with responsible health freedom advocates, and one of the more credible ones I have identified is called the Natural Solutions Foundation (NSF). Its Medical Director, Rima E. Laibow, MD, is a long-standing natural medicine physician who has dedicated her life to protecting health freedom and the wellness industry from legislative threats, domestic or international. NSF’s President is Major General Albert N. Stubblebine (U.S. Army, Ret.). Working closely with credible health freedom advocates such as the NSF and Washington-based lawyers and lobbyists means that we can both pursue international regulations that enhance public access to the industry’s products and provide your company with up-to-the-minute analysis of threats and opportunities, including disinformation, spin and distortions about which you need to know in these changing times.
We can only do this with your support. The NSF and I are asking you to become a regular supporter of our Nutrient Access Initiative by allocating a portion of your Public Relations budget to this Initiative. Your monthly support will assure that your concerns are forcefully presented to Congress and the agencies. General Stubblebine, Dr. Laibow and I will be reporting directly to our Circle of Presidents about important developments as these fast-breaking changes occur.
It’s a mutual support opportunity: we need your support and you need the researched and organized information that comes to the NSF from many sources. Please take a look at the attached Initiative brochure and let me know when Dr. Laibow, General Stubblebine or I can call you to finalize your company’s participation. Your executive decision is needed now. We need you in our Circle of Presidents. If you don’t protect your company’s interests, who will?
A Message from the President of NSF General Stubblebine (US Army, ret.)
“The next battle in the Vitamin Wars will be won or lost at the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) to be held 21 November in Bonn, Germany. The US Codex Office and the FDA are holding a public meeting on, 18 October, at FDA HQ, regarding US policy. NSF can only be there to represent your interests if we have your support!”
For an audio message from the President, click here (then click on utton) Enc: NSF Brochure