Article – Codex Harmonization and Action Steps

May 2010 Issue of Hippocrates Healing Our World Magazine…

The POP Campaign is a recently launched, grassroots effort to provide a powerful leadership presence on the national and global stages regarding organic food and supplements. The objective of this effort is to keep our voices and choices alive, our standards pure, and everyone informed on related issues and effective action.
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It is our strong belief that the right focus, prudent alliances, participation of motivated citizens and a collaborative effort can advance our health freedom forward through the maze of regulations, guidelines and laws surrounding food safety, organic standards and dietary supplements. By “organically” adapting responses to legislative agendas, political changes, counter proposals, and special interests with remarkable speed and depth, along with leveraging our collective passion and influence, we can realize victories and preserve gains already made for health freedom and choices.
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Recent Victories

On a shoestring budget, we hired lobbyists Beth Clay and Clinton Miller to personally contact members of Congress so they might witness our passionate commitment to healthy eating and to viable “common-sense” positions. What seemed impossible has resulted in significant successes— we influenced wording in the Senate Chairman’s Mark on Food Safety S. 510; helped frame and participated in the rigorous dialogue pertaining to Senator McCain’s Dietary Supplements bill so that he understood its ramifications and withdrew his own sponsorship (huge victory); addressed Codex influence on domestic crops and supported FDA accountability reporting measures; presented the “POP” and “Codex” amendments; and contributed to push-back efforts,information sharing, and personal stories to leverage our influence on policy.
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Action Plan

Moving forward, we find ourselves making difficult conversations more simple, complex issues clear, and shaping more meaningful thinking on key issues. We continue monitoring the bills and actions mentioned above. We will be taking a deeper look at an acceptable definition of “organic” and the concept of “science-based” standards. We do not agree with “one-size-fits-all” rules and the manipulations of the term “science based” to strengthen self-serving objectives. Paying attention to some of the upcoming sunsets on banned substances in organic farming is also essential –stay tuned.

“Green Your SPIRIT, America! We are getting healthier.
The times, they ARE a changin’… ~Mikaële Holzer
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Major activities will include:

Collective Impact: Leverage our numbers, resources, and experts
“Science based” and “organic” debates: Steer the dialogue correctly and fairly
Codex Harmonization: Influence its global impact through education; stop any national bleed-through, take positions at FDA and Congressional hearings
Continued Monitoring: HR 458, HR 185, and sunsets on farming additives Collective Impact
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“We can be effective as long as we are not lullabied into a dream state that everything is fine –it’s not. We need your support and your voice more than ever before!” ~Brian Clement.
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Collective Impact
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There are many indications Americans are becoming more focused on their health.
  • Celebrities flock to the Hippocrates Health Institute boosting their health, beauty and longevity.
  • Guests on the Oprah Show passionately share healthy eating tips and discuss America’s obesity epidemic.
  • Food Inc. receives an Academy Award nomination! Catherine Austin Fitz, national financial advisor, says that ten years ago she could not have imagined speaking on national radio about personal gardening and organic food, even broaching the conversation that “food is medicine”.
  • Jamie Oliver invades the most “unhealthy U.S. city” in his reality show to change eating habits in a Midwestern town.
  • Daily, from New Jersey to Kansas City to Boise to Bakersfield, eco-moms buy one or two new GMO-free items for their children.
  • Farmland Inc. reports that the ROI for farms that convert to organic is minimally 8% above traditional crops.
  • Organic food and beverages in the United States have grown into big business with sales from $1,000,000,000 in 1990 to an estimated $22,900,000,000 in 2008.
  • Mainstream’s passion for organics is skyrocketing. This is our biggest asset that can be leveraged… you are developing quality standards daily, one food choice at a time.
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“Victory lies in leveraging who we are as a health-conscious Community; strengthening our voices and focusing our passions, finances and expertise at all levels is the greatest power block in the history of this country. We are our greatest assets.” ~Rudi Leonardi
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To the choir: You are the path-makers. Obviously, we have a strong, unique connection to our organic food—a degree of intimacy that leads us to grand rhapsody and poetry. We can still experience child-like wonder over luscious natural tastes and smile ourselves into bliss. Our organic food crowns us a champion with each delicious bite. We have researched, documented, fine-tuned and learned how to grow food sustainably, efficiently, and cost effectively. We cultivate an intimacy with the earth and its harvests that is just nitty-gritty delicious and healthy. We are alive and vibrant! We must leverage our passion in a huge way to do what is necessary to take our leadership to the next level—showing up “BIG” to correctly address major issues.
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“ In all my years in Washington, I have learned that you, the people, can influence the laws when you are willing to speak out with clarity.” ~Beth Clay
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“Science-based” Standards and the “Organic” Definition Debates
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The use of the term “science-based” minimum standards is dangerous and one of the most tricky quagmires to maneuver. This is a term Congress increasingly uses when instructing the FDA or Administration. “It has no clear definition in statute and is used to exclude traditional use theories and practices, minority opinions and other information not in line with the status quo objectives,” states Beth Clay. It also sets the stage to undermine decades of progress on organic standards that, up to this point, have prevented the intrusion of pesticides and chemicals.

Section 419 of S. 510 requires the Secretary to propose and enact regulations to establish “science-based minimum standards for the safe production and harvesting of those types of fruits and vegetables that are raw agricultural commodities for which the Secretary has determined that such standards minimize the risk of serious adverse health consequences…”

Applying “science based” is an immediate red flag. Once the door is open, it can be a Pandora’s box. Institutional and corporate agendas have no tolerance for anything not aligned with their own objectives. Scientific arguments can be a “tit-for-tat” chess game where each fact is countered by another, until a stale mate is reached. Although results may be clearly scientific, built upon years of case studies, and very pervasive, the valuable information is simply ignored and gives way to an economic-political over-ride. Those “in charge” reassert their claims to academic territory, are stubbornly unwilling to relinquish positions, demand enormous volumes of evidence, and build cases addressing symptoms rather than the source of problems—wanting nothing that upsets the apple cart.
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“ I am concerned that the good intentions of the Senate will be used to undermine future access to true organic foods…. (with) the use of the term ‘science-based’ in setting a minimum standard…” ~ Clinton Miller
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The POP Campaign, along with the best health experts in the world, is challenging many basic assumptions and demanding to be included at every stage of policy development—on every committee, at every hearing, and on every working group across the country. We are pitting traditional uses and
practices against special interests. There will be victories, but we will be rigorously challenged.
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A Smorgasbord of Organic Definitions
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We can’t just walk into a grocery store anymore and simply buy food—we find ourselves being forced to legislate our basic rights all the way down the aisle as we choose what to put into our mouths. There is no shortage of the garden variety of disagreements, misunderstandings, self-interest, anxieties, confusion, complexity and deep seeded opinions. When asked, “what is organic?”, we quickly think simple, pure, healthful, whole, and close to nature food—grown with no synthetic fertilizers, drugs, hormones, additives, radiation or pasteurization. This makes sense—a standard supported by our experiences and our dream of what we want for our children. Even Thomas Jefferson stated,“the laws and institutions must go hand in hand withthe progress of our minds.” Why can’t modern laws and institutions represent our trend toward a more sustainable existence?
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What is the Organic Chess Board?
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A complex of U.S. laws and policy—Organic food laws are defined under Title 21 of the United States Code (USC). Federal agencies develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding the implementation and management of laws, detailed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), enacted under Title 21 of the 1990 Farm Bill, establishes uniform national standards for the production and handling of foods labeled as “organic.” It authorized a new USDA National Organic Program (NOP) to set national standards for the production, handling, and processingof organically grown agricultural products, includingoverseeing the mandatory certification of organic production. The Act established the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which advises the Secretary of Agriculture in setting the standards upon which the NOP is based. Producers who meet standards set by the NOP may label their products as “USDA Certified Organic.” Are you dizzy yet?

“Organic” as a qualifier, must specify: ecological production; biodiversity enhancement, biological cycles and soil activity; responsible labeling; materials used; and the balance of natural systems. It addresses: the absence of residues and pesticides; minimal pollution from water, food handlers, and processors; and how to grow organic agriculture to optimize health. Produce can be called organic and still contain 10% other ingredients. The definition needs refinement and must have sticking power at all levels—in spite of the ambition for big bucks via Big Farm Industry.

The “Better Living through Chemistry” post-war, old school attitude still drives these definitions and a “one size fits all” approach to “science-based” food standards. As in any chess game, the first opening move is calculated to gain a maximum advantage; we plan to take these opening moves and realize significant victories:

»»A Call to Action: This is such a Paul Revere statement but it is appropriate—“The inevitable is coming! The inevitable is coming!” There are many sub-policy discussions, FDA hearings, and sunset clauses in the Organic Food Act; we need to prepare well.

»»Take Charge of our own Standards: A National People’s / Experts Health Summit is in order where information would be consolidated and distilled into
reports for presentations.

»»A Healthy Tax: Consider a healthy tax on all food, especially vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts and seeds that are not 100% organic, the proceeds of which will go to community school lunches and healthy local educational funds

“ We are not dogs at the end of a chain with only a bark—we can have bite. If we stand up and leverage what we have, collectively, we can make a huge difference.” ~ Rudi Leonardi

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Harmonization of Codex
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The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is an intergovernmental body with over 170 members, within the Joint Food Standards Program established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), with the purpose of “protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair practices in the food trade.” The Commission also promotes coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and nongovernmental organizations. There are general, commodity, regional committees and task forces involved.
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Codex is the code of rules over nutrients, supplements, food, herbs, nuts and fruit. Codex standards have been dictated, written, argued and pressured by global corporations and larger governments that seek greater compliance, uniformity, and control. NAFTA, CAFTA, the UN, WHO and the WTO have adapted codex standards; every major piece of legislation in the U.S. that may bump up against the scope of any of these bodies and or treaties has a Codex provision included to ensure “harmony.” The FDA is one of the enforcers of Codex and has failed to protect our needs“…from dangerous drugs, genetically modified foods, dangerous pesticides and other chemicals in the food supply. Meanwhile they waste public funds attacking safe, healthy foods and dietary supplements,” as one Congressman states.
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No institutional arrogance or strength can match our numbers and pooled talent. Requests for consumer input are being published and the POP Campaign will submit positions. Our lobbyist, Beth Clay, once was a national representative to Codex committees and understands the inner
workings and navigation of the system—this is a huge plus for the POP Campaign.
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We cannot do this alone—we need ideas, resources, support, and participation from you and your contacts—celebrities, songwriters, producers, poets and other influential individuals. We are also seeking health experts, talented\ technicians, researchers and volunteers. We most importantly need monetary support. Look at our shoestring victories and imagine how much we can accomplish with a little more help! Please donate HERE. For more information, call (415) 999-9414 or email info@popcampaign.org.
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January 2010 issue of Hippocrates Healing Our World Magazine…

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January issue of Hippocrates Healing Our World Magazine…

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