In my interview with him Dr Robert Verkerk, founder and director of Alliance for Natural Health International, discussed the widespread legislative attempts to curtail our health freedom – moves which are dressed up as being for our protection but which in reality benefit only the world’s biggest food, agribusiness, biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
Today I bring you Alliance for Natural Health International’s guide to what YOU can do about these attempts to restrict our access to natural health products and information.
1. Inform yourself, and others, about the issues using reliable sources such as the European and US websites of Alliance for Natural Health International (www.anh-europe.org and www.anh-usa.org respectively) and the official Codex website (www.codexalimentarius.net). As mentioned earlier, inaccurate information or disinformation can do more harm than good.
2. Support Alliance for Natural Health International’s efforts to protect your health freedom with a donation, and consider making it a regular one. You can make an online donation at www.anh-europe.org/donate or www.anh-usa.org/donate.
3. Take responsibility for your own health, foster awareness and lead by example.
4. Eat a diet that’s made up largely of local or regional organic/biodynamic/sustainable whole foods, including heirloom varieties (and if you are able to cultivate such foods, better still).
5. How you spend your money is one of the most powerful ways of bringing about change. Support local and community based food production systems by shopping at farmers’ markets, farm shops and local organic stores.
6. Avoid buying processed or GM foods, foods containing additives, or foods to which pesticides have been applied, and minimise the purchase of imported foods.
7. Avoid relying on supermarkets as your primary source of food if possible, or at least choose wisely.
8. Support ethically sound, environmentally friendly companies and their products – companies who are pro health freedom, pro organic, and anti GM foods. These organisations are on the front lines on your behalf.
9. Alert your friends, relatives and other contacts to the risks posed to our food supply by the global food trade and its control through Codex. Stress the importance of chemical free locally or regionally produced whole foods, help them to appreciate the risks of processed, GM and unnatural foods, and encourage them to be active both as consumers and politically.
10. Focus on the ‘next generation’ and work with kids if possible – help them to understand and get involved with nature, natural food and whole food preparation.
1. Write to and/or meet with your elected representative and ensure s/he works on your behalf to influence your government. In relation to EU legislation, MEPs [Members of the European Parliament] are in a position to ask questions in the European Parliament, and to begin to change things, so they are the people to contact. UK MPs [Members of Parliament] can ask the government to pressure the EU on these issues, but they can’t get involved in EU matters directly. Only European government officials can do this.
2. In relation to Codex, some of the most influential guidelines, standards or recommendations are derived from laws that are already in place in the EU, the US and Canada. This is therefore a call to action for people from these three regions to engage with and seek to positively influence their respective law-making systems to the maximum possible extent. Communicate your concerns to as many of your contacts as you can both within and outside your country and where possible work to influence representatives from the Codex delegation (their names and addresses being publicly available in the annual reports of individual Codex Committee meetings, and accessible from the Codex campaign page at www.anh-europe.org).
3. Focus on the following concerns:
- Codex’s support for the global trade of simplified, nutritionally-inadequate, chemically-contaminated and increasingly genetically-modified foods.
- Codex’s lack of support or interest in community-based farming and food supply infrastructures which are known to offer high-quality foods better adapted to local environments.
- The increasing ‘dumbing down’ of organic agricultural principles making them less environmentally sustainable while making them more amenable to large agri-businesses.
- Codex’s lack of apparent interest in the agricultural self sufficiency of poorer countries.
- Codex’s support for hazardous food technologies such as GM foods, chemical additives, pesticides and irradiation.
- Codex’s desire to limit beneficial and therapeutic nutrients delivered as supplements.
- The acceptance of risk analysis principles that are fundamentally defective scientifically when it comes to the consideration of nutrients, and foods with health benefits.
- Codex’s attempt to censor information about the benefits of healthy foods, beneficial food ingredients and herbs, as well as vitamins and minerals by requiring that excessively onerous criteria be met in order for health claims to be made – an attempt which is at odds with the pressing need to educate consumers about how they can improve their health using diet and lifestyle based approaches.
- Pressure from the World Trade Organization for countries to harmonise to Codex recommendations, guidelines or standards, or run the risk of facing sanctions which might be sufficient to cripple the economy of smaller countries.
To find out more about the threats to our health freedom, Alliance for Natural Health’s International’s campaigns to counter these threats, and how you can support its efforts, visit www.anh-europe.org or www.anh-usa.org.