First published issue 3 of The New Zealand Journal of Natural Medicine (November 2011 – February 2012)
The Natural Health Products Bill has just passed its first reading in parliament.
Retiring Green MP Sue Kedgeley had the following to say about the bill: “It will set up a low risk regulatory scheme which is appropriate for the low risk nature of natural products; not a heavy handed regime…Before bringing a product to market, a business will have to enter product information onto an online, electronic data base. But virtually all ingredients and products that are already on the market will be automatically approved by the regulator, because any products that are used in other countries with recognised regulatory schemes will be automatically recognised, under our scheme.” http://www.greens.org.nz/speeches/natural-health-products-bill
There are mixed views of the bill given the low risks posed by natural health products. Some people question the necessity for any sort of regulation while many people in the natural health care sector appear to be happy with the bill.
An introduction to the bill and the link to download its text is here: http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Legislation/Bills/BillsDigests/b/8/a/49PLLawBD19271-Natural-Health-Products-Bill-2011-Bills-Digest-No-1927.htm
NB: I discuss this bill more fully in my Health Freedom Report in issue 4 of The New Zealand Journal of Natural Medicine. I am also studying this bill with a view to helping people make submissions on it. If you would like me to email you further information on this issue, please email me through the Contact page of this site (which is at this link http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/contact/ with the NZNHPB in the subject line.
Also on the NZ regulatory front is the Supplemented Food Guidelines which set out rules for “supplemented foods”. These rules include a list of allowable vitamins and minerals and maximum daily dosages for each. Vitamins and minerals other than those specified in the short list are not allowed to be included in “supplemented foods”. The regulations also list allowable artificial sweeteners – including aspartame. The standard came into force on March 31, 2010 and manufacturers must comply with the guidelines by March 31, 2012. (The Supplemented Food Guidelines may be downloaded from the website of Food Safety NZ – http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/)
Since I last reported on the Food Bill, there have been some developments on this issue. The Minister for Food Safety, Kate Wilkinson, has written to Organic NZ which was the first publication to report on the potential problems that the bill could cause for New Zealand’s organic food supply. According to her letter (published in the Sept/Oct issue of Organic NZ) the Minister has undertaken to ask for “advice [from her officials] on how the meaning of food could be amended to make it clear that seeds for cultivation and food seedlings are not within the definition. Once we have the wording needed I intend to include it as an amendment in a Supplementary Order Paper.”
The National Maori Organics Authority Te Waka Kai Ora has also stated its opposition to the Food Bill on the basis that it would undermine tino rangatiratanga (self determination), and could make nutritious food more expensive and thus undermine people’s health. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1109/S00376/new-food-bill-presents-a-serious-threat-to-maori-food-sovere.htm
The Mana Party has stated that it will not vote for the Food Bill and fully supports Te Waka Kai Ora. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1109/S00528/mana-opposes-food-bill.htm
Green MP Sue Kedgeley has stated that the Green Party “will likely vote against the Food Bill if it continues to progress through Parliament in its current form”. http://www.greens.org.nz/node/27110
There is an online petition against the Food Bill at this link http://www.petitiononline.co.nz/petition/oppose-the-new-zealand-government-food-bill-160-2/1301 For further updates on this issue please see www.nzfoodsecurity.org
In more food madness in the USA, a Wisconsin judge has ruled that it is illegal for farmers to drink raw milk from their own cows. http://www.anh-usa.org/denied-right-to-consume-milk-from-their-own-cows/
Also in the USA, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has recently announced that it plans to treat new dietary supplements as if they were toxic food additives. The FDA’s New Dietary Ingredient guidelines issued on July 1, 2011 is being vigorously opposed by health freedom advocates in the USA. http://www.lef.org/featured-articles/0719_FDA-views-supplements-as-synthetic-food-preservatives.htm
Back home in NZ, homoeopathy has been under attack with Professor Shaun Holt (from Victoria University’s School of Biological Sciences) writing to the NZ Medical Journal calling upon doctors not to practise homoeopathy, or refer patients for homoeopathic treatment. http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/124-1332/4621/ In 2010 he said that homoeopaths who were providing free treatment to Christchurch residents who were suffering from shock and/or trauma following the earthquake of Sept 4, were “appalling and shameless”. The NZ Medical Journal later published a letter from homoeopath Clive Stuart in response to Prof Holt’s attack. http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/124-1334/4668/ (These links are only available to NZMA members or NZMJ subscribers.)
Homoeopathy has also been under attack by Australian Health Ethics Committee which is part of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). In May it drafted a Public Statement on Homeopathy stating that “…it is unethical for health practitioners to treat patients using homeopathy, for the reason that homeopathy has not been shown to be efficacious.” Australians who have benefited from homoeopathy are being invited by the homoeopathic community to write in support of practitioners of homoeopathic medicine. See the following link for details:
In Europe the fight back against the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Herbal Products Directive which has made many traditionally used herbs and herbal formulae illegal in Europe, especially those used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine. The Alliance for Natural Health International, together with the European Benfyt Foundation http://www.benefyt.eu/ have been working to oppose the directive. They have raised 90,000 pounds for an intial legal challenge to the directive. More information about the campaign for health freedom in Europe may be found here: http://www.anh-europe.org/node/3113
In late October and early November Ian Crane visited Australia and NZ from the UK to talk about the threats to health freedom posed by Codex Alimentarius. Details of his talks may be found here: http://www.ianrcrane.co.uk/
Last but not least, there is an important victories for health freedom with Taumaranui and Taranaki succeeding in stopping water fluoridation in their areas. Congratulations to everyone who helped achieve this! See www.fannz.org.nz for updates on this issue.