By Doug Cross – UK Council Against Water Fluoridation
Fluoridated water must be treated as a medicine, and cannot be used to prepare foods. That is the decision of the European Court of Justice, in a landmark case dealing with the classification and regulation of ‘functional drinks’ in member states of the European Community. (HLH Warenvertriebs and Orthica (Joined Cases C-211/03, C-299/03, C-316/03 and C-318/03) 9 June 2005)
Functional drinks are those products that have two different purposes – for example, nutrition and exerting a positive effect on some medical condition. They include ‘near-water drinks with added minerals’ and, in view of the properties claimed for fluoridated water by fluoride advocates, it must be classified as a ‘funtional food’, and therefore falls within the scope of the relevant legislation.
Medicinal law takes precedent over food law.
The Court ruled that, where two different sets of rules appear to apply to a product, medicinal legislation must take precedent, and the product must be regulated as a medicine. It emphasised that medicines regulators in member states do not have the power to exercise discretion on the classification of such dual-function products. The repeated refusal of the British and Irish Regulators to recognise fluoridated water as a medicinal product is therefore an unlawful misuse of their powers, and one that requires immediate reversal.
ECJ rulings do not establish new laws, but clarify how existing ones should be applied, and are enforceable in the domestic legislation of all member states of the EC. In effect, this decision at last confirms the claim that I have made for many years – that existing medicinal law has always required that fluoridated water be regulated as a medicine. Fluoridated water has no medicinal marketing authorization (’product licence’), and because of this it is – and always has been – illegal to supply it to the public, as the 1968 Medicines Act confirms.
As a ‘medicinal water’, the protection afforded by the water quality regulations that shield consumers from hazardous substances in drinking water does not apply. Its use in the processing of foodstuffs is also prohibited, under the food safety legislation. Aa a direct result of this ruling, all English and Irish legislation providing for water fluoridation are at last exposed as having been in violation of that fundamental prohibition, and must now be repealed.
Prohibition of use of fluoridated water in foods
But the Court also ruled that such functional food products must not be used in the preparation of foods. As a ‘medicinal water’ the fluoridated product cannot be regarded as equivalent to the mandatory ‘water for human consumption’ specified for drinking and food preparation. So now every food wholesale and retail outlet in fluoridated areas of the UK and Ireland, from the corner chip-shop to the largest brewery, from the small high-street bakery to the largest supermarket retailers – all will now have to either cease production or install an alternative water supply.