Health activists meet in Washington

International Health Freedom Activists to Coordinate Fight
Vitamins and Herbs are Foods, not Drugs!

Arlington, Virginia, April 23, 2005 –

Health freedom activists held an emergency meeting outside Washington this past weekend, attended by The Vitamin Lawyer, to discuss defending DSHEA and defeating regulatory moves around the world that threaten access to dietary supplements through CODEX, the World Food Code.  The consensus was, if vitamin laws are to be harmonized globally, harmonization must be to free choice standards enshrined in DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act)
- where the marketplace is free to fulfill consumer needs, rather than to the restrictive rules of international bodies such as the European Union, where an attempt is being made to restrict vitamins to a short list of “approved” nutrients, in mostly synthetic form and uselessly low dosages.

The activists were heartened by the recent US Court decision overturning the ban on Ephedra, agree with the Judge that Congress did not give the FDA unfettered power to ban dietary substances.  A central issue of the meeting was, Vitamins and herbs are foods, not drugs.  A medical risk/benefit analysis is not appropriate for such nutrient substances.

The activists from Europe, the US and Canada saw the April 21st NY Times Editorial calling for revisions to DSHEA as misinformed and urged a careful analysis that properly balances our right to access nutrients. For example,

Ephedra, before the ban, was used by up to 30,000,000 Americans daily and over a decade, about a hundred people may have died through inappropriate use not in accordance with bottle directions.  The remedy, according to Judge Campbell, is to forbid only those dosages that can, if abused, hurt.  Compare that to aspirin, an over the counter drug that kills over 1,500 annually, when used according to directions.  That is why drugs and toxic substances are regulated under the risk/benefit analysis and why foods must never be.

The meeting consensus was, stripping us of our access to nutrients will not improve our health.  Representatives of a couple dozen organizations representing consumers, organic farmers, dietary supplement purveyors, health care professionals and health freedom activists from Europe, the US and Canada agreed to coordinate their efforts to defend DSHEA and defeat CODEX during the emergency period through the next few months.  The tide may be turning and
greater coordinated efforts now can assure victory for freedom of access to nutrients.

I will post links to the coordinating web site when it is set up.  See also, for updates.

Ralph Fucetola JD
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