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European Court Shuts “Loophole” that Saves Lives and Prevents Disease

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By Rob Verkerk, PhD, founder, executive director, and scientific director of ANH-International

The following is a somewhat condensed version of an article from our colleagues at ANH-International. It describes how European government authorities are not only censoring information to consumers, but are even censoring truthful scientific information that health professionals need.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently handed down a ruling that makes illegal, EU-wide, the ability of natural products companies to communicate lifesaving and disease-preventing information about their products.

The case (C-19/15) was referred to the ECJ by a German regional court. It was based on a challenge by the German anti-natural health skeptics group, Verband Sozialer Wettbewerb eV (VSW), which challenged Innova Vital GmbH, a vitamin D producer. The company communicated important and scientifically validated information about the benefits of vitamin D exclusively to doctors and other health professionals, who in turn were shown how they could obtain the company’s liquid vitamin D3 formula.

Bogus Complaint or Bogus Complainant?

At the heart of VSW’s complaint was Innova Vital’s statement that “87% of children in Germany have blood vitamin D levels below 30 ng/ml [and]according to the DGE [Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung, German Food Association], that level should be approximately 50 to 75 ng/ml.” The company added that it had “already been demonstrated in numerous studies [that]vitamin D plays an important role in the prevention of several illnesses, such as atopic dermatitis, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus and MS (multiple sclerosis). According to those studies, vitamin D deficiency in childhood is partly responsible for the subsequent development of those illnesses.”

The problem? These health claims are not authorized by the European Commission under the EU Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation, following assessment by the European Food Safety Authority, another EU institution that has itself been exposed on numerous occasions for conflicts of interest.

The ruling now sets a precedent that effectively bans any commercial communication to a health professional that isn’t specifically authorized by the EU. There are only 256 authorized health claims out of many tens of thousands that could be related to foods or their constituents, including over 40,000 originally submitted for consideration when the EU Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation was in its early implementation.

The ruling drives a sledgehammer through a very important educational communication channel for companies, for health professionals, and particularly for the main beneficiary, the public. Out of the many tens of thousands of foods and constituents in foods, the EU has seen fit to grant only fourteen authorized disease risk reduction claims for adults. Half of these relate to cholesterol lowering and its alleged and now largely disproven relationship with reduction of coronary heart disease risk; two relate to vitamin D (risk of falling and osteoporotic bone fractures among) and two to xylitol-containing chewing gums for reduced risk of tooth decay.

The Court justifies its extraordinary ruling on a number of premises, including these: “Health professionals cannot be expected to be up-to-date with the latest science.” Are regulators more up to date? And health professionals are likely to “exercise significant influence over [their]patients.” Does the government know better? Imagine if this so-called logic were applied to drug companies peddling their wares to doctors!

There may yet be a way out though for traders and health professionals: erect a “Chinese wall” between educational content and commercial communications about products. It’s an approach that’s already in use, and it needs to be used to the full, as some of the companies in the natural health space have necessarily become the primary educators in this field, given that Big Pharma has almost entirely “stolen” the educational environment for healthcare products in medical schools. That’s another project in which ANH-Int’l. is involved.

Frankly, it is laws like the EU Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation and its subsequent interpretation by the European Court that contributed to the decision by millions of Britons to leave the EU last month.

 

Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health:

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  • HS61AF91

    Is it any wonder there was a BREXIT!

  • gertrude van voorden

    Yet Unilever can put on their products the healthbenefits of vitamin D, when hardly any vitamin D is present. Other products have synthetic vitamins added, which have no benefit. Some website was fined 30.000 euro when writing about healthbenefits of a certain product. Already with Codex Alimentarius in effect healthmagazines cannot write about products. If another Codex Alimentarius regulation is in effect, that of irradiazation of products when imported, those products lost all healthbenefits. Already even with organic seeds i noticed they do not sprout, sign of being irradiated.

  • MarkDonners

    European government agencies are involved in a war against their public, and their right to choose health over sickness deliberately induced by their pharmaceutical corporation terrorists. WHO is leading criminal government actions like this

    • The Wizard

      This is a great ruling and stops pharmaceutical salesmen selling direct to the public without any regulation or filtering.
      A doctor or trained health official should check out the patient before anything is taken. It’s not up to salesmen to do and can be very dangerous and cause further complications.
      Another example that you don’t know what you’re talking about. http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ac55c895f00bf9aa2c9dc62b6c1e553751ab5a33c8bee24f225dde6df6fb09ec.jpg

      • MarkDonners

        the only thing that can be determined from your stalking, is that anything that’s destructive or criminal, you support.. that’s anything. Go slither your unwashed self back to your basement and leave the constructive mature people who want to do good. Better yet, choke on your poison pharm meds and let the rest take care of their health.

        • The Wizard

          I don’t have a basement, but I do have a pool and 3 bathrooms, so I don’t think I can be considered as unwashed.
          So your stance is.. ‘De-regulate everything’? Brave stance from an eco-terrorist keyboard warrior who wants more regulation on corporate activity, fishing and roadkill, therefore restricting freedom even more. And now you say pharm meds are poison, yet you want them freely available! Make your mind up. You’re a very confused man and you have a 5th grade level of debate skills.
          Maybe it’s that lack of human contact you’re missing… I bet these type of forums make up for that. Hahahahaha!!!!

          • MarkDonners

            Trailer trash wiz claims he has three bathrooms. Wiz, I don’t think your trailer is big enough for that unless you consider your outhouse and mud pools back of your trailer as “bathrooms”. Trailer trash Wiz is hoping that he can join the Mexican drug cartels or the Mafia as long as he kisses up to them long enough and turns up his low IQ grade school dropout nose at anyone who questions “crime for profit”, which has always been the role model of Trailer Trash Wiz.

          • The Wizard

            Again lots of presumptions, fantastical thoughts and guess work.
            Looks like you’ve broken from the discussion and going for the personal stuff. Well done, you can stop crying now.

          • MarkDonners

            I never waste time thinking about the “Wiz”

          • MarkDonners

            And when you learn to read, I said that I want natural foods and vitamins available. Pharm industry wants those under their control as “medicines”. Any fool can see through their criminal operations.