A stunning theft of our rights is happening now—right under our collective noses. We're losing the right to manage our personal health as we see fit. It's a right so basic that no one ever thought to list it among the rights of free speech and assembly. Who could ever have imagined that something so basic might come into question?
That, though, is exactly what is happening. Some of us try to do battle, but we've been focusing on losses as they occur. We combat genetically modified foods, loss of access to vitamins and herbs, and much more. The war is being fought on so many different fronts that we're all suffering battle fatigue. We win an occasional bout, but lose most, which adds to our frustration.
Can this war on our personal rights be won? Are our children destined to have no choice about what they eat or how to treat illness?
I must believe that we can win, but since introducing and dealing with the Stop the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive Petition, it has became obvious that a new approach needs to be found.
Fighting Skirmishes, Not the War We've been focused on each incursion as it's brought to us. But we haven't looked at the overall picture. Even if we win a large percentage of these battles, we will still lose the war. The foes of health freedom will keep coming. When they lose one battle, they come back from a slightly different direction.
Take a look at what's just happened in the battle against genetically modified (GM) organisms. We've won skirmishes here and there, but then what happens? The profiting corporations and the agencies in charge find other ways to get what they want. And they're getting cleverer and quicker in their methods.
The application for approval of Monsanto's Scott GM Kentucky bluegrass by the USDA resulted in an outcry against it. It looked like we were winning. Then, a week ago, the USDA quietly—very quietly—announced that they will no longer even put up a show of controlling certain GMOs, specifically Monsanto's Roundup Ready Kentucky bluegrass. (See Genetic Modification Wins: Rogue USDA Hands It All to Monsanto.)
A Different Approach We need to address the tricks being used to force these disastrous rulings on us. We must stop them from claiming powers that they do not have. Therefore, I propose that we start by addressing one of the most significant claims being made in both the US and the European Union.
Both the US's FDA and the EU have been redefining terms to allow them to regulate foods, vitamins, and herbs as if they were drugs. The FDA is now labeling foods, vitamins, and herbs as drugs, and then regulating them in the same manner that pharmaceutical drugs are regulated.
A now-famous example is contained in a letter that the FDA sent to a distributor of walnuts. In it, they claimed:
...we have determined that your walnut products are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease. Just making a health claim for a food has, according to the FDA, literally turned it into a drug! That would, of course, be absurd—if it weren't so frighteningly effective.
In other cases, the FDA and the EU decide that a known health benefit of a food puts it into the category of drugs. The mere claim of a benefit makes that food a drug. In other cases, a chemical is found to exist in a food, but has been isolated and turned into a pharmaceutical drug. The FDA decides that these foods may now be regulated as drugs.
It's magical thinking! But reason and rationality have nothing to do with achieving the goal of controlling everything that people ingest and making it a profit center controllable only by Big Pharma and the agencies that are clearly at its beck and call.
As a result of these absurdities, the FDA, along with its EU equivalents, has deemed that Cheerios cereal, walnuts, marmalade made from Seville oranges, and even Marmite, may be regulated as drugs. These letters are being sent out by the dozens. With the power of the FDA behind them, the letters usually do the job. They stifle free speech by preventing health claims being made, even when they're true and backed up by dozens of scientific research projects. They force companies to stop producing and distributing products that people want, and they force companies to go out of business.
posted by Sylvia