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Authority’s Stance Shows Importance Of Independenc

17 August 2002

Media statement
For immediate use

Gary Mabey
Joint Co-ordinator

Authority’s Stance Shows Importance Of Independence

“We support the New Zealand Food Safety Authority’s cautious and responsible approach to concerns about products containing kava,” Gary Mabey, Joint Co-ordinator of Citizens for Health Choices, said today.

“The Authority is right to advise consumers to be aware of issues that have been raised, and to encourage caution. Equally, we support the Authority’s decision not to take precipitate action against kava.

“Kava products have been used safely for many years in New Zealand. The small number of unproven anecdotes from overseas are no reason to prevent New Zealand consumers having access to kava products. Any withdrawal of dietary supplements must be based on good science, not mere anecdote, and must be proportionate to the risk.

“This case shows the value of New Zealand maintaining its independence from Australia in such matters. Because of the action of the Therapeutic Goods Agency in Australia, thousands of Australian consumers are being denied the choice of kava products, and may be forced to shift to anti-anxiety pharmaceutical products with a significantly greater risk of side effects – including liver damage.

“New Zealand sovereignty is paying off in this case by empowering New Zealand consumers to continue to make choices for themselves about their health care.

“The onus is now on the New Zealand authorities to provide consumers and health practitioners complete and unbiased information on kava and its alternatives, so that they can make their decisions on the basis of high-quality information.”

ENDS

For more information:
Gary Mabey
(09) 420 5800

Citizens for Health Choices is one of New Zealand’s leading and most visible advocates for consumer choice in health care.

Citizens for Health Choices was founded in 1992 by a group of consumers, health practitioners and people from the dietary supplements industry. Since then it has been working to make sure New Zealanders have continued access to the natural health products they know and trust.

Today Citizens for Health Choices has more than 1000 consumer members, an Advisory Board of industry representatives, and support from New Zealand companies and individuals from across the dietary supplement sector – manufacturers, distributors, importers and practitioners.


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