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Friday, August 24, 2007

Health Freedom: Beware of False Messengers

Please read this carefully and distribute widely if you values your right of access to health care of your choice.

For more information see these key sites as well,
pFAM Health
International Advocates for Health Freedom
Byron Richards

ANH Rebuttal to NSF

The following is an email reply from our international affiliate, Alliance for Natural Health in response to another health freedom organization sending misinformation in regards to the recent win in Europe. We agree with ANH’s position of not contributing to the dissention in the health freedom community, but occasionally, such erroneous information is published that it needs a rebuttal. The following is ANH’s response to Dr. Rima Laibow/Natural Solutions Foundation email sent on Tuesday evening, August 21, 2007 regarding the recent ANH victory in Europe. To view NSF originial email blast, please click here.


anh_logo.gifIt is unusual for the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) to get involved in disputes between the many factions in health freedom. We are, above all, an alliance and are working hard at forging bonds and affiliations with other health freedom organisations in different parts of the world so that we, together, can be more effective in our work. In the USA we are formally affiliated with the American Association for Health Freedom and the Health Freedom Foundation ( Additionally, we work closely on Codex issues with the National Health Federation, which is the only health freedom organisation to have official observer status— and thus enabling it to speak—at Codex meetings.

However, a situation has arisen that forces us to clarify a deeply misleading commentary by one particular organisation, the Natural Solutions Foundation. Should such a clarification not be of interest to you, you of course need read no further.

Subscribers to the Natural Solutions Foundation e-list will have received an email from Dr Rima Laibow, the organisation’s founder, today about which we wish to provide important clarification. We feel compelled to make this clarification as Dr Laibow has, unfortunately not for the first time, seriously confused her facts.
What Dr Laibow of Natural Solutions Foundation Said

Dr Laibow opens her email with the title “Reading the Fine Print to Get It Right!”. Regrettably, however, there appear to be such fundamental misunderstandings in Dr Laibow’s email that we can only presume she has not taken her own advice. On a more serious note, Dr Laibow’s communication also serves to provide much greater confusion – the very thing she professes to help eliminate – and it begs the question of why she did not instruct her legal counsel to communicate with us before issuing such a distorted view of the actual circumstances in Europe with regard to our recent actions on food supplements.

In her mailing, Dr Laibow, described the recent clarification by the European Commission brought about by the ANH’s legal challenge and subsequent filing of dossiers on natural sources of vitamins and minerals, as a “nano victory”. To us that means she thinks it’s a small victory, but we suggest you make your own mind up, when you read the section beneath the next sub-heading. It is interesting that Dr Laibow does not refer to us directly, presumably because she is fearful that it might drive further interest towards our many and diverse health freedom activities in different parts of the world. Dr Laibow’s interpretation of the recent progress is that “natural source[s of] supplements are no longer in danger, now they are considered as foods” and she goes on to say “We agree with the basic [sic] principle: supplements are foods and therefore considered safe.” But is she confusing ‘safe to health’ from ‘safe from regulators’? Dr. Laibow also doesn’t appear to appreciate that food supplements in Europe are already regarded as a category of food, but the recent European Commission decision makes natural sources of vitamins and minerals food ingredients, which require no proof of safety before going to market, rather than food supplement ingredients (vitamins and minerals), which require evidence of proof of safety. Creating this evidence can be prohibitively expensive for many supplement companies.

Dr Laibow continues by outlining in a grossly inaccurately manner, the background to our case in the European Union (EU) - again making no mention of the name of our organisation - and even cites her endorsement of our December 2004 critique to the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization on planned Codex approaches to nutrient risk assessment. It seems that she might be looking for praise or credit, but she doesn’t seem to have realised that the document she endorsed has absolutely no link with our actions on natural sources. Dr Laibow’s signature on our 2004 document also represented the first time she became known to us, and we should point out that our Board subsequently requested that we remove her from the list of endorsees on the grounds of her lack of credibility and accuracy on Codex issues.

Dr Laibow’s fundamental misunderstanding of events in Europe appears be based on her apparent gross confusion over the differences between work we are doing, 1) help prevent a ban on ingredients such as natural sources of nutrients, and, 2) maintaining dosages of nutrients, which are at serious risk of being limited to non-therapeutic levels by flawed, scientifically irrational approaches to risk assessment and management.
What has ANH actually achieved in relation to natural sources of nutrients

The victory to which the ANH lays claim is that our strategy has caused the European Commission to agree that natural sources of vitamins and minerals will no longer need to go through a complex, often prohibitively expensive safety evaluation process conducted by the European Food Safety Authority. This was going to be required to get the ingredients on to an allowed (positive) list. However, the European Commission has accepted now that natural sources of nutrients don’t need to be processed in this way and can simply be used in the same way any food ingredient can be used. There remains a compulsion on the manufacturer that the product is safe, just in the same way that a baker needs to be sure his loaf of bread is safe. This position is actually quite different from many EU Member States’ interpretations of the requirements and is the exact opposite of a position made by the legal unit of the European Commission over a year ago (the legal unit now being a signatory of the reconsidered position).

Our press release on the European Commission’s altered position on natural sources of vitamins and minerals can be found at:
Curdled milk or synthetic vitamins?

Dr Laibow refers to a quote from Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore: “Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream”. Having read her email, we would suggest that the milk has definitely curdled. Her confusion over natural and synthetic vitamins would be a clear example of ‘curdled milk.’

Dr Laibow says: “Natural source nutrients are safe, beneficial and extremely important to the health of people eating modern industrialized foods and living in a toxic world. Synthetic ingredients are not the same as natural ones, although our FDA has taken the unscientific position that they are the same.” ANH says: we agree, generally, with Dr Laibow on this one point – although one might assume that her previous psychiatry practice would have been rather dependent on synthetic vitamins, which have been a staple in the field of orthomolecular medicine. However, in the context of what’s going in Europe, the key point is that the European Commission was, until our recent action, treating natural sources of vitamins and minerals in the same way as synthetic ones. This meant you needed to prove that the ingredient was safe—often a prohibitively expensive process—before it could be used in a supplement. Now natural sources of vitamins and minerals will be treated as foods, rather than as food supplement ingredients, where it is assumed they are safe as these natural sources of nutrients have been part of our food supply for many thousands of years. In our book, this is a real win for nature, for natural health and, of course, for health freedom. We can only think that Dr Laibow perceives it as a “nano victory” because she does not fully understand the facts of the case, as suggested by her own description of products on her e-commerce site (see below).

Dr Laibow says: “As an aside, the Natural Solutions Foundation feels so strongly about this that we provide an online store, , where you can access totally organic, all natural nutrients for yourself and those you care about.” ANH says: we have reviewed Dr Laibow’s e-commerce site and immediately viewed a host of ingredients in products which appear to be synthetic in origin, rather than natural sources. We suggest that unless Dr Laibow can substantiate that all ingredients selling on her site, such as ascorbic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, sodium selenite, L-arginine, thiamine hydrochloride, hydroxycobalamin, folic acid and vanadyl sulphate (to name but a few) are “all natural” and not synthetic, Dr Laibow might have to accept that she has ‘curdled the milk’ and is confused over the differences between natural sources of nutrients and synthetic nutrients.
Onwards and Upwards

We hope that this mailing helps to clarify a situation that Dr Laibow and her organisation has muddied. Dr Laibow has previously asked ANH as well as other organisations and Codex experts to make her aware of inaccuracies in what she has said or published. Despite several attempts at drawing her attention to specific examples of misinformation in her materials, she appears to have done little or nothing to rectify them. We therefore draw attention to this new incidence of inaccuracy publicly, in the hope that, in future, the Natural Solutions Foundation will begin to research its articles and speeches more carefully.

We are deeply committed to our work in helping to carve out a scientific and regulatory system that will allow for the expansion of natural health, so that it can ultimately become the rightful heir to mainstream healthcare. To this end, integrity and accuracy are two of our most important tools. On this occasion, we have felt compelled by the actions of the Natural Solutions Foundation to protect our integrity and the accuracy of information surrounding our recent legal activities on European food supplements. We also call on the health freedom community to be responsible in its outputs so that we can work together more effectively in our common goals.

In health, naturally

The ANH Core Team

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