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Why are Australian CODEX Delegates Pushing Unhealthy Policies On the World?

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URGENTLY - before CODEX meets again Nov. 4-8


An open Letter - email to: 

Ms Janine Lewis– Principal Nutritionist – Codex Australia– Food Standards Australia New Zealand janine.lewis@foodstandards.gov.au 

Copy to:

The Prime Minister The Honourable Tony Abbott: please go through this website page: http://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm

The Australian Minister for Health, the Hon. Peter Dutton MP Peter.Dutton.MP@aph.gov.au

Deputy Leader of The Opposition is Tanya Plibersek Tanya.Plibersek.MP@aph.gov.au


October 2013


Dear Honourable Mr Tony Abbott MP Prime Minister, The Hon. Mr Peter Dutton MP, The Hon. Ms Tanya Plibersek MP and Ms Lewis,


Many Australians and people from many other nations have been following Ms Janine Lewis’s work as the Australian delegate at the annual Codex Alimentarius Commission meetings held in various international cities. Reports have come from a number of sources, including the NHF (National Health Federation) which sends its own delegate to these meetings.

We are greatly disturbed that Ms Lewis has been actively lobbying other delegates at the CODEX meetings in a move to reduce Nutrient Reference Values even further during the coming CODEX meeting on Nutrition about to be held in Germany on 4 -8 November. She plans to reduce these already low micronutrient levels in foods and supplements to subsistence levels just at a time when 1 out of 3 people in developing countries suffer from vitamin and mineral decficiencies and 16 million people in developed countries, including Australia, suffer from malnutrition. Ms Lewis proposes to lower daily human intake of essential micro-nutrients in both foods and supplements to a fraction of the recommendations set out by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, for special groups, leaving athletes, growing children, pregnant and lactating women and the elderely at risk of malnutrition.

We have taken a particular interest in the way this committee develops food standards and guidelines that are used in international food trade, since those standards will be imposed on Australians and on the rest of the world.

We therefore expect that the Australian position at the CODEX Commission should be: 1. Based on sound science. 2. Aligned with community standards 3. Beneficial to the public’s health and wellbeing.

Australian policy decisions are subject to scrutiny by the rest of the world and it is the desire of most Australians to be regarded by the international community as a nation that promotes sound and healthful public policies, especially where these decisions impact other nations.

Over the past several years Australia has taken increasingly harmful and perplexing positions at CODEX meetings on a number of other crucial issues, which now leads us to asking the following questions:

1. Why did the Australian CODEX delegate, Ms Lewis, oppose labelling of genetically engineered foods at the 2010 Codex Committee on Food Labelling in Canada, making it impossible for consumers to make informed choices about whether or not to buy genetically modified foods for their families? This regulation would make it impossible for parents anywhere in the world to avoid genetically altered baby foods for their infants.

2. Why did Ms Lewis vote to adopt Ractopamine-doped meat products during a CODEX meeting in Rome in July 2012 when this steroid type drug, marketed by Eli Lilly, has been banned by 160 countries on the grounds it is dangerous to animals and humans?

3. Why did the Australian Delegate allow industry to contaminate food products with the proven-killer contaminant Melamine in the 2009-2011 sessions of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods, when this contaminant has already killed or sickened 290,000 humans (mostly children) and over 20,229 pet animals?[1] 

4. Why did the Australian delegate push for maximum upper limits on vitamin-and-mineral supplements in 2005 when these levels have been standard supplement formulations for decades without any evidence of harm to consumers? At the same time, why is Australia lobbying to decrease even further the Nutrient Reference Values for vitamins and mineralswhen 1 out of 3 people in developing countries are affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies and 16 million people in developed countries suffer from malnutrition?[2]Has Ms Lewis factored in the projected death rate of a policy that restricts micronutrients on the world’s populations in need of supplemental nutrition?

5. Why did the Australian delegate oppose removing toxic Aluminum as a food additive at the Codex Committee on Food Additives meetings, in Beijing, China, in March 2013, when studies show this heavy metal is implicated in a variety of neurological conditions [3]  including Parkinsons and Alzheimer’s Disease?[4]

 The current Australian government’s position on these issues is clearly injurious to human and animal health and only serves the industries which manufacture these toxins, drugs and genetically engineered products.

We require a thorough review of Australian policies and answers from the Australian government as to why the Australian Codex Office is imposing these unhealthy policies onto Australians and the world at large and why it is failing to:

(1) Support the removal of toxins and contaminants from foods

(2) Support the labelling of GM food products

(3) Support the increase of healthy vitamins and minerals in our diets instead of a decrease. 


 While these issues are hopefully placed under review we respectfully request that the Australian delegate, Janine Lewis, refrain from lobbying nations toward adopting harmful policies, including lowering essential nutrient levels in foods and supplements,  and stop voting for, promoting or implementing unhealthful policies at the CODEX Committees.


Respectfully Yours,

The Concerned People of Australia and the Rest of the World





[3]Joshi, J. G. (1990). Aluminium, a neurotoxin which affects diverse metabolic reactions.BioFactors (Oxford),2(3), 163-169.


[4]Flaten, T. P. (2001). Aluminium as a risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease, with emphasis on drinking water.Brain research bulletin,55(2), 187-196.


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