With a Healthy Topping of Dolphin and Whale Fat ….
BY SCOTT TIPS, NHF PRESIDENT
The new Chairman of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) is Guibiao Ye and he is an excellent chairman. Unlike some others I have encountered, he lets everyone talk, he listens and thinks about what he’s heard, and then overall he makes sensible decisions. Above all, he doesn’t promote his own personal views and opinions as some sort of “consensus” of the Committee. Working well with the experienced Codex Secretariat, Gracia Brisco, he is just the kind of chairman that this Committee needs.
And this Committee held its 53rd meeting by Zoom from July 4-8, 2022, with the reading and correction of the report on July 13, 2022. While attendance of course varies with each passing day, it held reasonably steady at about 360-380 participants, with 40 of them being declared as members of CropLife International, the front group for the pesticide industry. There is no telling how many additional pesticide industry members are also attending as infiltrated members of country delegations. Then, there was one consumer representative present. Me.
Yes, that’s it. Once again, it was the NHF against the World. But what’s new? In 2018, at the in-person Hong Kong meeting of CCPR, the National Health Federation – the only consumer group represented at that committee meeting – spoke up against the following pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides as all posing public-health concerns: pyflubumide, chlorothalonil, glyphosate, buprofezin, bifenthrin, cyprodinil, dicamba, fluensulfone, and tolfenpyrad. At that meeting, an entire row of CropLife attendees snickered as NHF stated its case against glyphosate – just as I imagine many Trojans snickered and even laughed at Cassandra when she warned them about their impending deaths at the hands of the besieging Greeks.
The Pesticide Industry’s Only Concern
Is money. And lots of it. In the United States alone, pesticide revenue is about $15 billion per year. In the entire World, it stands at $103.5 billion per year, as of 2020. So, keeping that income stream flowing is the pesticide industry’s main concern and why they predominate at each meeting of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues. The pesticide industry isn’t present at every meeting of this Committee because they are concerned about consumer health; they are present because they want to make sure that the pesticide-residue standards are not so restrictive as to hurt their pesticide sales.
The saddest thing, though, is that the rest of the Committee delegates (NHF excepted) treat the industry’s front group, CropLife, which is funded by an array of billion-dollar global corporations, as some sort of disinterested scientific advisory body instead of the lobbying trade organization it really is. Give the lobbying organization a nice, warm and fuzzy name, sprinkle a smattering of well-paid, inhouse scientists among its attendees, and Voila!, suddenly no one can see through the thin veil of camouflage.
Glyphosate and Other Horrors
The NHF submitted its pesticide comments in two separate documents to the Committee on Monday morning, July 4th, which the Codex Secretariat merged into one, less-clear document. Of course, the extremely toxic herbicide glyphosate is the main object of our attention at these meetings, given its widespread use throughout the World. In fact, at every meeting where NHF has been present and standards permitting the use of glyphosate have been discussed, NHF has consistently opposed its use in agricultural and other practices.
On the meeting’s first day, I stated our strong objections to glyphosate, “NHF expresses its objection to the use of glyphosate in any form for the reasons given in our CRD28 [Conference Room Document 28], that is, that glyphosate, among other things, is a persistent, cumulative toxin and a major contributor to Antimicrobial Resistance worldwide.” Always needing to have the last word, CropLife submitted its own written response to NHF’s CRD 28. The battle continues, but one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, glyphosate and all glyphosate-based herbicides will be completely banned as the deadly health hazards that they are.
As the CCPR meeting progressed, I spoke out against chlorpyrifos (an organophosphorus insecticide), propiconazole (toxic fungicide), fenpyroximate (toxic acaricide), cyprodinil (carcinogenic fungicide), quinoxyfen (toxic fungicide), clothianidin (toxic insecticide), trinexapac-ethyl (plant growth regulator), and ethiprole (toxic insecticide). For those substances with major negative environmental impacts, the European Union, Switzerland, and the NHF strongly objected to their continued use, while CropLife, the United States, Uganda, and two other trade organizations countered that “environmental considerations do not belong at Codex.” In reply, I told the delegates that “you cannot separate human health from environmental health, as we fish fish from the sea, birds fly in the air, and crops are grown in soil, all of which are one. You cannot get healthy humans from unhealthy food coming from a sick environment.” Later, I directed a question to CropLife in front of all of the other delegates, “So, if an MRL [Maximum Residue Level] has an impact on the environment, then that should be of no concern to this Committee? Is that what CropLife is saying?” CropLife dodged my question and simply referred NHF to its CRD 26.
In the end, the Committee advanced most of the substances towards adoption, while eliminating or holding back the standards (MRLs) for others. All in all, it was a good week for the pesticide industry, which is accustomed to getting its way at CCPR. At least NHF could shine light on the dubious industry science and set the stage for the ultimate ban on many of these highly toxic substances.
Near the end of the third day of the meeting, a curious document was rolled out for the CCPR delegates to consider. The brainchild of an Electronic Working Group (EWG) chaired jointly by the United States and the Netherlands, this innocuously titled document is called “Primary Food Commodities of Animal Origin (All Types).” Sophie Brouwer of the Netherlands proudly led the discussion of it, which revealed some shocking food categories envisioned by Codex. (See two photos below)
Alarmingly, the food categories for which Codex standards would be adopted are for meat from the following animals: dogs, rats, opossums, capybaras, kangaroos, wallabies, swans, frogs, lizards, dolphins, and whales. Reassuringly, I did not see any food categories for cat meat or human meat.
However, the document was replete with insect food categories such as for spiders, ticks, earwigs, lice, and numerous others. As the document says, “Several stages of the insects and spiders can be consumed: eggs, caterpillars, puppets and adults. … The entire commodity may be consumed.” No, thank you! You first.
Keep in mind that at the very moment that this discussion was taking place at Codex, Dutch farmers were protesting and “rioting” in their country after the out-of-touch Dutch government declared a war on livestock farming, with its firm but nonsensical goal of reducing nitrogen emissions by 50 percent in eight years. This means drastically reducing dairy herds, forcing large numbers of farmers out of business, and cutting back on meat, pork, poultry, and dairy food for human consumption. These idiots plan to reduce the 50,000 Dutch farms by one-third by 2030. Right now, the small country of the Netherlands is a net exporter of foods, but after 2030, if the government is successful with its goals, what will the country be then? A country of bug-eaters if they are lucky.
One needs to see all of this in the context of two recent occurrences: (1) over 90 livestock plants in the U.S. and Canada have mysteriously burned down in the first half of 2022, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture also claiming millions of chickens are “infected” with avian flu and must be destroyed; and at the same time (2) insect-food manufacturing facilities are springing up in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere. In London, Ontario, a new cricket-processing food facility is being constructed by the Aspire Food Group, with another to follow in northern New Brunswick. A smaller cricket-processing plant is located in Ohio.
They call crickets “The Food of the Future,” the “Superfood,” and even “Micro-Livestock”; but it’s hardly yet on the Western palate. The politicians are so keen on getting us all to switch over to bug eating that they have even found celebrities to push this new agenda. Nicole Kidman, for instance, ate a four-course meal of bugs on camera in an attempt to promote eating insects as a new normal.
So, Codex has just confirmed that bugs and other such previously off-limits consumables are definitely on the menu planned for our future. By creating Codex standards for these food commodities, they plan on establishing and growing an international market in these “foods.” NHF objected to any dolphin or whale meat and fat standard being created at Codex and intends to object to a large number of other “food” categories as well.
This Has Disaster Written All Over It
Among other issues then discussed were “environmental inhibitors,” with Warren Hughes of the New Zealand delegation giving a PowerPoint presentation about their urgent need due to “Climate Change.” Environmental inhibitors are compounds applied to crops or pastures or to animals (directly or via feed) to reduce production of greenhouse gas or reduce nitrate leaching into waterways.
The European Union challenged whether these compounds were within the scope of the Committee’s work and also said that the definition needed to be clarified. The Swiss delegate noted that these inhibitors can be toxic to humans, and we should go slowly in reviewing them, to which Mr. Hughes trotted out the age-old cliché that “We aren’t in a position to wait given Climate Change.” Yes, by all means New Zealand, let’s just rush these new compounds to market without any proof that they will do one bit of good and instead might well harm us all.
In agreeing with the EU and the Swiss, the NHF told the delegates that we “should be careful not to rush to judgment with these environmental inhibitors. We could make the problem worse and cause much harm. Any time you tinker with Nature you run risks. And we do need to clarify the definition of these compounds, as the EU said.” The EWG for this review was charged with further study.
The Pesticide Industry Is Impatient
They cannot poison us quickly enough. Not enough of their pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and acaricides are being reviewed by the Codex science group FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), particularly after the two-year slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, to permit the industry to put those products on the market. Plus, they have great plans to introduce three times as many products in the near future; therefore, the slow JMPR reviews just won’t do.
So, CropLife – on behalf of the entire pesticide industry – presented a short series of PowerPoint slides to the CCPR delegates outlining its plan to reduce the backlog with a JMPR study. Disgustingly, many delegates actually thanked CropLife for presenting a plan on how to poison the World faster!
The U.S. delegate, David Miller, correctly noted that JMPR could not be taken away from its own backlogged review process in order to study how to reduce the backlog; and he proposed an alternative review through an EWG. Most countries, and NHF, agreed with the American suggestion, but NHF went further by reminding the delegates that “CropLife is an industry group. It’s not a consumer protection group, so of course they want to eliminate the backlog, but we do not want to eliminate or weaken the reviews simply to clear the backlog.”
International Politics at Codex
Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States all submitted Conference Room Documents, which remained unnumbered, condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Whatever one’s views on the subject (and who condones any war?), Codex Alimentarius is a scientific body and not a political forum.
So, on the last day and nearly last few minutes of the meeting this week, when the Chairman asked if there were any other business matters to discuss, I raised my hand for NHF and told the delegates that “I was shocked to see these CRDs! These CRDs are highly inappropriate in a scientific body like Codex.” I then related the story of how ten years ago at the Food Labeling Committee meeting in Canada, the South African delegate had introduced a CRD calling for Judeo-Christian principles to be applied at Codex, for which she was roundly criticized by many Codex delegates as Codex was a scientific body and made to withdraw her CRD. I asked the delegates how the present situation was any different and said that these CRDs should be withdrawn as well. No one said a word.
But then the Codex Secretariat took the floor and explained that the FAO Legal Counsel had cleared these CRDs to be accepted. Yet, the FAO attorney is absolutely wrong because Section 2 of the General Principles of the Codex Alimentarius provides the Scope of Codex and nowhere in that Section does the Scope cover politics.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Stephen Vincent Benét, who observed that “We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom.” This quote should be posted in every Codex office in the World. Better yet, it should be posted in every government office in the World. When tampering with nature, it is better to be humble than proud.
© 2022 Scott C. Tips