Help Stop the Brussels Ban on Health Supplements

One of the greatest health rediscoveries of modern times is natural Himalayan Alexander Crystal Salt.

ON 3rd JULY 2003, the European Food Supplements Directive was passed into English Law, which will, over the next few years, effectively ban around 5000 discrete products currently legal to sell in health food shops and pharmacies. This Directive has been devised and pushed forward by the unelected EU bureaucrats in order to "harmonize" the selling of health supplements throughout the EU, and was railroaded through the British Parliament by the Blair Government despite being rejected by the House of Lords. The way that the Government passed it was outrageous: just before the vote by the Standing Committee in the House of Commons, five Labour MPs who were going to vote against it were replaced by more obedient MPs. Even then, this directive was only passed by 8 votes to 6!

So it seems that the European Parliament and the present UK Government are determined to pass the Food Supplements Directive despite the will of the people and even of MPs themselves. Why? Because it is the will of the EU Parliament which is very strongly influenced by the massive pharmaceutical companies in Europe. They are the only ones that will financially gain from the destruction of the health supplement industry. After all, people who take responsibility for their own health by taking supplements need less drugs because they are healthier.

It is ironic that the Malnutrition Advisory Group has recently released a report showing that about 2 million people in the UK(!), including 60% of hospital patients, are not getting adequate nutrition and they admit that this is severally affecting their health and ability to heal. Of course, they don't mention supplements because they are still under the false and dangerous impression that this fictitious thing called a "well-balanced diet" exists that can adequately supply all the nutrients that the body needs. Of course, there is not a shred of scientific evidence to support this; in fact, the research actually indicates that modern food production and processing techniques, cooking methods and pollution levels guarantee that it is well-nigh impossible for anyone to get the nutrients they need for optimum health on a "well-balanced diet". (And if you can't get optimum nutrition using ingredients from the supermarket, how on earth are you going to find it in a disgusting NHS hospital slop canteen!) Given this terrible state of modern nutrition, it is astonishing that our governments are trying to move legislation towards a vastly reduced availability of nutritional supplements. What is going on?

Many of us have been protesting about these proposals for the past five years, writing letters to our MPs and MEPs, signing million signature petitions and even marching on Parliament here in London. Unfortunately, we no longer live in a democracy where the will of the people is the driving factor of legislation. The EU Parliament is not interested in personal freedom, or even personal health… only control and more control. And they have tried to justify this assault on our rights to take supplements on the grounds of our safety, even though health supplements have a safety record second to none — see LaLeva's Safety of Dietary Supplements and Comparative Safety Graph. And given their incredible safety, it is rather odd that the tabloid newspapers have been running sensational headlines over the past few years on the dangers of nutritional supplements. (I wonder who is behind those media campaigns?)

Already, the supplement market in Germany and Norway are severely controlled, and it is illegal, for example, to buy Vitamin C over 200mg in strength because it is considered by Brussels to be unnecessary, although of course, it is very necessary for the population to continue to buy cigarettes and alcohol as they are very healthy for governments' bank accounts. I have just heard (10/3/04) from a very reliable source that a woman has been arrested in France for selling 500mg tablets of Vitamin C because in that country doses of that strength are now considered medicinal! (There is absolutely no safety issue with Vitamin C and you can freely buy 1000mg tablets here in the UK and US at the moment… I take 3 a day.) Soon, these sorts of controls will be pan-European, and you will only be able to buy from a small and bland list of ineffective, inorganic supplements and in doses that the EU diktat considers appropriate. Many innovative products and companies will simply disappear, and it will become much harder for each of us to take responsibility for our health.

So what can we do to preserve the rights of each individual to take responsibility for his or her own health? Protesting is always a good place to start and one should never underestimate the effect of letters to MPs and MEPs. However, this legislation seems to have so far been pushed through despite the people's and MPs opposition. The Government has an agenda that they are not going to give up just because it is unpopular. This is where The Alliance for Natural Health comes in.

The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) is a pan-European and international organization of scientists, practitioners, lawyers, public relations and media experts working specifically to amend European legislation in order to maintain the availability of innovative, safe and effective food supplements. ANH feel that the time for lobbying is unfortunately over as The Food Supplements Directive has already been passed (undemocratically) by Parliament, and so they have now issued legal proceedings against the directive in the High Court in London using top lawyers — Brick Court Chambers and The Simkins Partnership. For more information on the ANH and for ways that you can help (including giving a much needed donation), please visit their website at www.alliance-natural-health.org and, if you can, please donate to the legal fund. Recently, they won an important victory in the UK courts giving them the right to take it to the European Courts.

Today, we are fighting for our right to buy health supplements; tomorrow, we will be fighting for our right to voice dissent. In March 2001, for example, the European Court of Justice ruled that the European union can lawfully suppress political criticism of its institutions and of leading figures, sweeping aside English Common Law and 50 years of European precedents on civil liberties (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard). And those outside the EU must not be too complacent, this directive is actually the tip of the iceberg of a larger directive called "Codex" put forward by the World Health Organization to take away health freedom worldwide for everyone, including those in the United States and Canada (visit the International Advocate for Health Freedom).

For ways to be more involved, please visit some of the links on the top right of this page. This is a time when we need to unfortunately fight for our right to have access to the tools to remain in optimum health, and fight it in a largely undemocratic environment. But if enough of us (including the public, doctors and health companies) actively resist government and pharmaceutical control, and support organisatios like the ANH, together we will preserve that most fundamental of human rights… to be healthy.

Jenny Marsh