by Scott C. Tips
July 31, 2019
CAC42 Meeting Room,
Geneva, July 8, 2019
Scott Tips, current head of the venerable National
Health Federation (NHF), schooled delegates to the CAC42
(Codex Alimentarius Commission 42) meeting on using the
phony propaganda phrase, 'Scientific Consensus', when in
fact none existed.
sets United Nations food safety standards as a joint
Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health
Scott is an example of what one person can do to turn
the tide of discussion at the right time.
Down "Scientific Consensus" Scheme in Flames
Styled as "CAC42," the
Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) met in
its 42nd session in Geneva, Switzerland this past week of July
8-12, 2019, and I attended the meeting as the National Health
Federation's sole delegate.
Populated with 632 participants, this
was a large meeting, but one carefully shepherded by CAC Chairman
Guilherme Antonio da Costa, Jr. of Brazil and efficiently run by a
small platoon of professionals fielded by the Codex Secretariat.
As always, the main object of this meeting was to adopt (approve)
the food standards and any guidelines already considered and
adopted by the subsidiary (lower-level) Codex committees during
their own meetings since the previous CAC41 session.
And there were
plenty to adopt:
cadmium levels in chocolate
of pesticide levels
lead levels in wines and other commodities
quinoa grain size,
...among numerous others.
Some of these agenda
items were real snoozers while others were of keen interest and
debated harshly. Regardless, the bureaucratic trajectory both
underlying and driving this meeting was relentless - get the
generally industry-driven standards adopted.
procedure is everything, the outcome is nothing.
Out of Thin Air…
If you don't get your way, just move the goal posts. Or at least
invent a new term out of thin air.
That is the way the Codex science
officer decided to react to the unexpectedly stubborn resistance of
55 African countries to a standard for milk additives (emulsifiers
and stabilizers), such as
trisodium citrate, that the United States
and a number of other countries and industry INGOs wanted adopted.
With 55 stubborn African countries arguing against adoption, the
Chairman could not find "consensus," the preferred Codex method of
reaching agreement to adopt or reject any standard.
After all, when
consensus is defined as "the absence of sustained opposition," the
Chairman could hardly find "consensus" in the face of 55
So, Markus Lipp, the FAO/Codex science officer and former
employee, reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out the nearly
freshly coined term of "scientific consensus."
First tried, to my
knowledge, at the April 2018 Codex Committee on Residues of Vet
Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF) meeting in Chicago - where Dr. Lipp
sprinkled that pixie dust on the Codex delegates in a vain attempt
to overcome the European Union's and NHF's strong objections to the
adoption of a standard for
Zilpaterol, the notorious vet drug that
has no therapeutic purpose but to cure sick financial balance sheets
- the magical phrase "scientific consensus" was not so magical since
it failed to fool most of the delegates and the Chairman there. 
The Zilpaterol standard went down to defeat.
But with a certain moth-like quality within him that kept him
circling the flame that had burned him before, Dr. Lipp could not
help but chance using the "scientific consensus" argument at this
meeting as well in an attempt to out-maneuver the solid 55-African
And the Codex Chairman echoed the phrase as if on
You see, if there could be found a "scientific consensus" in
favor of the milk-additives standards, as dictated by the Codex
Science Officer, then the Codex head table would argue that
"scientific" consensus trumps "regular" consensus.
behind this assertion is that since Codex is a 'scientific body,'
scientific consensus is what counts. Forgotten by them, however, is
that Codex also makes policy.
As Warren Buffet said once,
"It's only when the tide goes out that
you learn who's been swimming naked."
Well, the tide went out and
those at the head table who had staked their position on "scientific
consensus" were soon enough exposed as swimming naked.
I spoke out at the meeting against the fake term "scientific
consensus." In fact, I was the only one...
As NHF's representative, I
told them that:
I had spent a considerable amount of time
reading through the Codex Procedural Manual and that nowhere in it
does it use the term "scientific consensus"
that the term
"consensus" without any qualifiers appears in the Manual on page 8
and again on page 18 and should be given its ordinary and normal
a dangerous precedent would be set by using a contrived
term to push through a standard so strongly opposed
simply cannot make up terms as you go along and we either have
integrity at Codex or we don't
I concluded by hammering home the
point that the milk-additive standard could not be adopted.
In the end, the Chairman called for a "side session" where the
chairman of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene would mediate
between the two sides and reach a general (not scientific)
That was done and the following day the Commission agreed
to put back for further study one of the milk-additive standards (trisodium
citrate) while adopting the other standards for emulsifiers and
For NHF, though, the most important result to come out of this
discussion was to put a stake through the heart of the concept of
Without a doubt, the Codex science officer
was floating this concept once again so that delegates would start
getting used to the concept. It would then be put to use at the next
Vet Drug Residue committee meeting (May 2020) to adopt a worldwide
standard for Zilpaterol.
We cannot have that happen...
challenging this biased and unsupported definition of consensus now, NHF was laying the groundwork for defeating the Zilpaterol standard
And interestingly enough, several Codex delegations
thanked NHF for having spoken out against "scientific consensus."
On another agenda item, NHF unfortunately did not score as well.
Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) had referred to the
Commission a number of Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for pesticides
that CCPR suggested be adopted at Steps 5/8:
Oxamyl, Propamocarb, Propriconazole, Profenofos, Bentazone,
Abamectin, Fenpyroximate, Kresoxim-Methyl, Pyriproxyfen, Cyprodinil,
Pyraclostrobin, Fludioxinil, Mandipropamid, Spinetoram, Fluopyram,
Sulfoxaflor, Fluxapyroxad, Benzovindiflupyr, Cyantraniliprole,
Cyazofomid, Lufenuron, Isofetamid, Oxathiapiprolin, Ethiprole,
Fenpicoxamid, Norflurazon, Pydiflumetofen, Pyriofenone, and
The European Union, Norway, and Switzerland objected to
the MRLs for a number of these toxic pesticides while Brazil
objected to just one of them,
Pyraclostrobin, due to acute risk
concern for their consumers.
With solid research to back NHF's objections at Codex - thanks to
NHF Executive Director Katherine Carroll who spent a significant
amount of time researching their toxicity - NHF supported the
comments of the EU, Norway, and Switzerland but went even further
and objected to the adoption of all of the named pesticides as health hazards for humans and animals.
So, I told the delegates that,
"the first problem not considered by
the risk assessors is that these pesticides are cumulative.
accumulate in the body, even at low doses, and over time they
accumulate greatly and detrimentally to humans. This has not been
considered by Codex in setting the MRLs here.
The second problem is
essentially one of synergy.
They are often used together with other
pesticides and herbicides. And they have never been tested for
safety when used together like this. We do not even know what harm
their interactions can cause.
We suspect these will be even more
harmful than when they are used alone and, indeed, science points in
And the third problem is that these pesticides are
Endocrine Disruptors, "gender benders," even at low levels. It has
been demonstrated that fertility problems and birth problems result
from their use.
This is an increasing concern that we cannot let
these problems continue. We must be especially cautious in approving
any MRLs for endocrine disruptors."
"One of our introductory speakers yesterday morning
very correctly stated that,
'We cannot have food security without
The EU and others at CCPR and here at CAC -
in written comments - have mentioned toxicological and similar
concerns with a number of the pesticides up here for adoption.
agree with the concerns expressed by the EU and supported by Norway
and Switzerland at CCPR, and for that very reason we ask that none
of these MRLs be adopted but especially those for Diquat, Imazalil,
Propiconazole, and Norflurazon not be adopted and that they be sent
back to CCPR for further review and discussion."
Naturally, the Codex science officer could not resist responding to
my comments, claiming that the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on
Food Additives (JECFA) risk assessments considered all factors and
Never having seen an unhealthy standard that it
did not like, the United States delegate spoke up and helpfully
asked that the JECFA reply be put in the record.
Cadmium Standard Approved Despite Substantial Objections
Surprisingly, when it came to considering the Maximum Limit (ML) for
cadmium in chocolates, there was a knock-down, drag-out fight.
Proposed at 0.3 mg/kg, this ML for cadmium was approved by the CAC
despite the fact that some 30 countries objected to it as being too
lax and a health hazard to children especially.
Others, such as
Argentina and the United States, dismissed the health concerns in
agreement with the JECFA Secretariat, who called any health concerns
In the mêlée, the EU (representing 21 countries at this meeting)
stood its ground opposing the ML of 0.3 mg/kg but was subjected to a
short health lecture by the Chairman that there is never a zero
The Cameroon delegate responded by asking, if it is Codex's
goal to place as many food products on the market with the highest
levels of heavy metals as possible?
In turn - and taking a page out
of NHF's playbook - the outspoken delegate for the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS) correctly challenged
whether there was consensus on this standard and said we should not
put too much faith in JECFA science.
Plucky Finland pointed out that
there were more delegations against the standard than in support and
that it was bad form for the JECFA Secretariat to suggest that he
might need to explain the science to a delegation.
supported Finland while ECOWAS reminded the delegates that,
still room for improvement with JECFA."
The cadmium ML for chocolate passed despite strong objections by
Under Codex procedural rules on consensus, the
standard should have been stopped. This procedural failure
highlights the outsized influence wielded by the Codex "science"
officer and overall by JECFA itself.
One of the biggest problems at Codex is delegate susceptibility to
the "Papal Infallibility" complex when it comes to science.
doesn't help that the JECFA Secretariat definitely believes in its
own infallibility when it comes to scientific matters (despite
frequently admitting large data gaps in available science from which
to draw a conclusion).
Any pronouncements on the safety of a food
standard or pesticide standard that is handed down by JECFA is
treated as if they are the stone tablets that 'Moses' brought down
from the Mount...
Yet, NHF's written and oral comments in April 2015 after the Vet
Drug Residue (CCRVDF) meeting in Costa Rica reveal that far from
handing down stone tablets from the Mount, the JECFA Secretariat has
clay feet instead.
At that meeting JECFA had announced that
recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST) use had resulted in no
increase in mastitis or in pus in milk.
"Why then," I asked, "after
such a thorough and systematic literature review did JECFA miss the
industry's own data showing a 79% increase in mastitis from rbST use
along with a 19% increase in pus and bacteria in the milk?"
Monsanto's own warning label for Posilac, its rbST
injectable drug, expressly stating that,
cows injected with Posilac
are at increased risk for mastitis...
I again asked the Committee,
could JECFA's supposedly systematic review have missed the
industry's own safety issues?
So much for thorough and "systematic"
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone is not JECFA's only scientific
When it came to
aspartame - the well-known artificial
sweetener with less-known, but still-proven deleterious effects upon
humans and animals, which can include seizures, brain tumors,
dementia, and weight gain  - JECFA got it wrong.
the considerable and increasingly accumulating evidence of
aspartame's toxicity, JECFA declared aspartame "safe" in the early
1980s at a consumption level of 40 mg per kilogram of body weight.
This happened too with,
of which JECFA pronounced safe to use at levels that are harming
people and animals.
In my article published last year about the
Codex Vet Drug Residue committee victory over Zilpaterol, I describe
in more detail JECFA's scientific errors and how Codex delegates
were and still are seriously mistaken to trust JECFA "science". 
Yet, JECFA and most Codex delegates expect all of us to accept its
scientific pronouncements without question. For a scientific body,
Codex certainly has a congregation of religious adherents.
it is understandable that Codex delegates would want to defer on
scientific issues to JECFA because it certainly saves those
delegates from having to do their own scientific due diligence.
Still, that is what they must do - their own independent inquiries,
with an open mind as well.
Part of the problem stems from what the JECFA Secretariat himself admitted matter of factly at CAC42 on July
10th, when he confessed that JECFA relies heavily on studies and
data from the industry in order to make its safety assessments.
JECFA lacks credibility when it deems a systematic review as
complete and yet misses important safety data plainly visible to
even the general public.
NHF keeps pointing this out to fellow
delegates and finally it seems as if some other delegates are
catching on, as shown by ECOWAS' comments at CAC42.
At this most recent Codex meeting - the most important one of the
year - the National Health Federation was there to remind fellow
delegates that Codex science can be mistaken, misguided, and even
corrupted, and that we should not blindly accept whatever swill we
have been given to swallow.
NHF thanks its donors who made it possible for NHF to attend and to
stop the drive towards twisting Codex procedure so that a new
meaning of "consensus" would allow unhealthy standards to be
Without its generous donors, NHF would not have been there
to shoot down this stealth tactic that would have gained deceptive
momentum in successive Codex meetings.
consensus" lays smoldering in the dust as a reminder to Codex to act
 Scott Tips, "Victory at Codex Over Dangerous Vet Drug," Health
Freedom News, Summer 2018, pp 5-9, at
 Mark D. Gold, Independent Analysis of "Opinion of the European
Commission, Scientific Committee on Food: Update on the Safety of
Aspartame / E951," Feb. 3, 2003, at
 See, e.g., InChem, "Aspartame," undated, at
See also JECFA Evaluation Monograph, dated 2018, at
 Tips, supra.