One rule for GM crops, another for vitamins and minerals?

The Alliance for Natural Health was in Brussels this week to challenge The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) track record of “green lighting as safe” GM crops while delivering “highly restrictive assessments” on safe and health-beneficial vitamins and minerals.

ANH executive director Dr Robert Verkerk told the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee, and a group of MEPs, that over 100 million Europeans took supplements regularly and that they should be allowed the freedom to choose to continue to use them.  He said the Commission’s desire to statutorily limit dosages of vitamin and mineral food supplements using “flawed risk analysis methods” threatened to limit vitamin and mineral supplements to levels that, for the vast majority of people, would not produce any significant benefits

Referring to arguments published by him recently in two articles in the peer review journal Toxicology, Verkerk was highly critical of methods developed by both the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Commission.  In his briefing to the Committee he compared the “lack of consistency” in EFSA’s risk assessment methods that, “on one hand, were generally ‘green lighting’ as safe genetically modified crops, while delivering highly restrictive assessments on many vitamins and minerals, the intake of which had been associated with profound beneficial health effects”.

Following the meeting in Brussels, during which Basil Mathioudakis, head of the Food Law, Nutrition and Labelling Unit at the European Commission, responded to the ANH’s points, Verkerk commented: “I thought the European Commission put up a rather weak defence.  Its key strategy seemed to be to attack the entire notion of nutritional therapy, arguing it involved the medicinal, rather than food use, of micronutrients”.  Verkerk went on to say, “the Commission continues to ignore key issues we are raising about the irrational and inconsistent scientific and regulatory approaches they are contemplating”.