Here is some good news for a change on the Natural Health front in the U.S.
In a precedent that will hopefully support the innovative and natural health industry in the inevitable Codex battles that lay ahead, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lost its bid to censor health claims for dietary supplements containing selenium this past Thursday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
This is a big deal!
According to Lexology, the Association of Corporate Counsel’s online publication, U.S. District Court Judge, Ellen Huvelle, ruled the FDA’s censorship of selenium dietary supplement claims relating to the reduction of cancer risk to be unconstitutional. The ruling itself may force FDA to change its health claims policies.
Constitutional Attorney, Jonathan Emord, of Emord & Associates, celebrating yet another court victory over the FDA’s relentless attempt to censor qualified health claims for natural substances, noted that the verdict protects the First Amendment right of dietary supplement manufacturers to provide qualified health claims, which accurately communicate the state of science concerning dietary supplements.
The lawsuit was initiated last year in response to the FDA’s June 2009 decision to suppress selenium / cancer-risk reduction claims. Ten of the claims, all appealed by the plaintiffs in this case, were held to be censored unconstitutionally by the court. The judge found that the FDA had, in fact, denied claims despite credible scientific evidence supporting them and had thereby infringed on free speech.
Prior to this ruling the FDA required near conclusive scientific evidence for any nutrient claim. The judge ruled that so long as the claim is an accurate reflection of the state of science, the First Amendment protects it.
Although a significant and potentially powerful victory in the U.S., erroneous European regulatory policies on health claims for foods and food components have yet to be tested in the European courts. Government attempts to implement the Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation, the segment of the controversial European Food Supplement Directives which sets out to ban all health claims on food, food components and dietary supplements, continues to move forward.
Robert Verkerk PhD, executive and scientific director of ANH International, said, "The verdict in our case against the FDA should be sending shock waves across the Atlantic to EFSA, (European Food Safety Authority). If European authorities implement the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation as planned in 2011, it is the European consumer that will be the main loser. Disease prevention using good diets and nutrients will effectively be thrown out of the window. EFSA needs to either shift to using credible evidence as in the US, or it should expect to argue its case in the courts.”
While human rights for Europeans have in theory been given greater legal protection under the newly passed Lisbon Treaty, it remains to be seen whether EFSA and the European Commission will successfully quash freedom of speech in relation to the health benefits of foods and food constituents.
The World Institute of Natural Health Sciences applauds the hard work and positive outcome of the court challenge against the FDA’s censorship efforts and, along with the ANH, are calling on our membership, our supporters and all European citizens to write to their duly elected Member of the European Parliament, (and newly elected Members of Parliament in Britain), to let them know how the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation is likely to drastically reduce their ability to choose healthy foods and nutrients in support of sustainable nutrition and health.
Useful scientific and legislative information and documentation is freely available on our web site, www.winmhs.org. You can also obtain contact and email information for your specific government representatives by clicking on the following link:
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