Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Codex Alimentarius Permits a Wide Range of Dangerous Chemicals in Food

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Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

In my past few articles, I have discussed the documented adverse health effects related to pesticide use,[1] the difference between general pesticides and POPs[2] (Persistent Organic Pollutants), and the requirements that must be met [3]in order for the designation of POP to be applied to a specific pesticide.

With all of this in mind, one may be surprised that Codex Alimentarius actually allows for the presence of such dangerous chemicals in food. Before explaining this position, however, it is important to note some of the background regarding POPs, the Stockholm Convention, and, finally, the Codex Alimentarius POP guidelines themselves.

In 2001, The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was adopted with the stated goals of eliminating or reducing the production and use of POPs. The Stockholm Convention entered into force in 2004 and is overseen by the United Nations Environment Program. The Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention (COP) manages the POPs Convention with each of the members of the Stockholm Convention being the members of the COP. The function of the members of the Convention is to implement the obligations of the treaty at the national level.

Although 50 countries have ratified the treaty, the U.S. is not one of them. However, the U.S. has largely begun to implement the treaty on the national level. This has been accomplished through a series of national laws and other international agreements.

Since 1972, the United States and Canada have signed several agreements involving the removal of POPs from the Great Lakes such as the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy. The U.S. is also party to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade with 71 other countries and the European Union.