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GENEVA, 19 July 2010 — CRN-I, the international subsidiary of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), held its first scientific symposium July 3, aimed at bringing together experts and regulators to engage in science-based discussions regarding international scientific and regulatory issues. 
The one-day scientific symposium, “Scientific Issues Related to Codex Alimentarius Goals,” which immediately preceded the Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting, was focused on gathering international regulators, policy makers, nutrition scientists and academics to discuss and provide their perspectives on issues relating to Codex, particularly on science-based risk management and developing scientific standards for health claims. There were close to 40 attendees in total, including regulators, speakers, industry scientists and staff.

“The meeting was exactly what we hoped it would be,” said Mark LeDoux, chairman of CRN and a founding board member of CRN-I.  “CRN-I provided a forum for a productive conversation between international regulators and policy and nutrition experts on their science-based perspectives on Codex-related issues,” Mr. LeDoux said.

Mr. LeDoux also stressed that CRN-I has a responsibility to consumers worldwide to make certain that regulators and policy shapers around the world have opportunities to take part in peer-reviewed, science-focused discussions so they are able to consider other scientific perspectives during the policy-making process.

Arpad Somogyi, D.V.M, Ph.D, a senior regulatory toxicologist with much experience in Codex and national regulatory agencies in Europe, gave the Keynote address, offering that while Codex has made great progress in resolving international trade disputes about food safety, many unresolved questions still hamper free trade. Professor Somogyi emphasized that Codex documents should be based primarily on scientific principles and evidence, and that their purpose should include both protection of the public health and assurance of fair practices in food trade.

John Hathcock, Ph.D., senior vice president, scientific and international affairs, CRN, said CRN-I achieved its goal of ensuring a productive and science-based, intellectual conversation took place that reframes critical issues facing the Codex delegates. Dr. Hathcock said CRN-I’s inaugural event underscores the need for a scientific basis for Codex decisions.

Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., a professor of antioxidants at Tufts University and a speaker at the conference, discussed the importance of recognized differentiation between evidence-based nutrition and the commonly applied procedures in evidence-based medicine. He urged for a recognition of the differences when regulators evaluate supplement research.  

CRN-I plans to submit the proceedings from the symposium for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. CRN-I intends to hold the symposium annually to address additional topics of interest to the international audience.  

The Manno, Switzerland-based CRN subsidiary, established in December 2009, was created with the mission toprovide science-based information to regulators, health care professionals and the media, particularly those outside the United States, supporting the safety and benefit of dietary ingredients and dietary/food supplements, and to promote sound nutrition and food safety policies well grounded in science.

Note to Editor: CRN-I is a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry.