Two weeks ago, I told you about the American Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ruling against farmers who made scientifically backed claims about the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cherries. In their ruling, the FDA said that these health claims meant that cherries must be classed as an unapproved drug. That’s right, as far as the hypocritical medical authorities are concerned, ordinary fruits and vegetables are now unapproved drugs!
Keeping our heads high
Here in the UK and in the European Union (EU), things aren’t much better. The European Parliament is about to pass a law that will see all supplements and alternative remedies with un-approved health claims disappear from health food store shelves within 6 months… especially if they are added to the EU’s register of rejected claims.
Our regular readers will know that the Daily Health has been campaigning against these draconian laws for the best part of the last two years, supporting Dr. Robert Verkerk at The Alliance for Natural Health, who defended our corner in the European Parliament. Your backing in this campaign has been tremendous and we want to thank those of you who wrote emails and letters to your MEPs, and signed petitions objecting to the enforcement of the health claims list.
Sadly, many MEPs struggled to go against the flow, and many simply wanted to see the back of a troublesome and controversial law, by making fixing it someone else’s problem. In short, for now we’ve lost the fight. It’s a tough blow to take as it infringes on our right to use and learn about natural medicines.
All is not lost just yet…
Last week, I went to the Natural & Organic Products Europe Expo where I was surprised to see how many supplement manufacturers are out there doing their best to comply with the new EU rules and regulations, whilst still developing new, high quality products.
When I spoke to many of these supplement manufacturers about their concerns regarding these draconian laws, most of them agreed that these are worrying times and that the future of alternative medicine is indeed uncertain at the moment. Many also commented on the fact that there are a lot of grey areas when it comes to the implementation of these laws, and they are confused about how much flexibility they have in wording health claims because guidance from the European Commission (EC) is not yet available.
One summed up the current situation, saying: “We’re taking the guidance in the areas where it is offered and changing our supplements and labelling accordingly. But in many cases there is no guidance and no one is clear on which nutrients or ingredients are approved or not. Until we have clarity, it will be business as usual.”
It clearly is a complex and very confusing process for everyone involved. A full and comprehensive approved health claims list has still not been published. In fact, in October 2011 a list of selected negative health claim opinions was published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), but since then some of these claims have been withdrawn for re-evaluation. Until an updated list is published, no one can say with any certainty if they are manufacturing ‘illegal’ and ‘unapproved’ substances.
A final approved list of health claims and guidance will probably be published in May. Once published there will be a six month transition period to allow manufacturers to comply.
We still have time on our side. Most supplements and herbal remedies are still available in health food stores and with events like the Natural & Organic Products Europe Expo still taking place and show-casing innovative new health products, it shows that the alternative health industry is not ready to give up the fight just yet.
It goes without saying that we need you to play a part in this silent revolution by supporting your local health food store. In short: Stock up on the beneficial supplements and remedies you normally use.
Another way to contribute is to subscribe to our monthly journal. By doing this you’ll not only stay abreast of the latest developments and discoveries in natural medicine, but you will also help spread the word by telling friends and family about the healing powers of Mother Nature.
In fact, if these gagging laws are eventually put into force, the Health Sciences Institute could be one of the few places where you’ll find trustworthy information about cutting-edge research taking place in the area of alternative medicine… Supplement manufactures may be prevented from making certain health claims on their product labels, but we can’t be stopped from writing about proven natural breakthroughs that can help prevent and treat a wide range of medical conditions – from heart disease to diabetes.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.