We've had our march (and more of that later), so now it's down to lobbying and clever Parliamentary tactics to stop, or at least slow, the ratification of the Food Supplements Directive by both Houses of Parliament.
We've heard that many more directives that will kill off any last remaining outposts of nutritional and alternative therapy are now in the EU pipeline. The legislation may have been inspired by the pharmaceutical industry, but it's also had the tacit approval of the doctors.
As the British Medical Journal put it recently: 'Doctors have little faith in the use of multi-vitamin or mineral supplements by healthy adults' (although the reason why adults are healthy could be because they are taking the vitamins, perhaps).
But now the BMJ admits it may have to eat its words, even if it won't touch the vitamins. A year-long study in two primary care clinics in the United States has found that those who took supplements had fewer infections and took fewer sick leaves than those on a placebo. The effect was most marked in diabetics, although everyone who took the vitamins reported having better health.
(Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, 2003; 138: 365-7).
. . .in fact, let's make them compulsory
And as the legislation reaches its final stages to kill off nutritional medicine, almost as an executioner would eye up the prisoner in the condemned cell, other doctors are suddenly coming forward and suggesting that some supplementation should be made COMPULSORY.
Doctors in Italy are concerned about a Europe-wide deficiency in people's iodine stores. Deficiencies have been found in many countries in Europe, including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland and Spain. People in the UK, and in Eastern European countries, have adequate stores overall.
Iodine deficiency can result in mental defects, goiter, reproductive problems, childhood mortality, and hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Doctors at the ICCIDD (International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders) would like to see the World Health Organization and UNICEF press an iodine supplementation programme through the European Union and, if necessary, make it compulsory.
The EU hasn't been lobbied like that in ages.
(Source: The Lancet, 2003; 361: 1226).