There used to be nothing like a good conspiracy theory.  As one who read and collected about 60 books on the Kennedy assassination before going cold turkey on the subject, I know.

To advance a conspiracy theory in the old days, you had to have a book and be deemed credible; your book had better have a thick section of footnotes.   Kennedy conspiracy theorists spent as much time cross-checking the footnotes as we did reading the books.

Today’s conspiracy theorists spent most of their time on the Internet, and in the place of footnotes, they usually link you to one or two items that are supposed to be “smoking guns” for their causes.

A new conspiracy theory popped up last week over President Obama signing Executive Order 13544 “Establishing the National, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council.

When Obama signed this Executive Order June 15, it went pretty much unnoticed and reading it I can see why.   It establishes an executive panel of top bureaucrats who are going to coordinate, get input, and make recommendations, including annual reports, to the President and Congress on public health subjects.

Then last week, starting where I am not sure but libertarian Ron Paul, R-TX was right in there, it exploded on the Internet.  The conspiracy theory is that Obama’s very public order is a secret move to adopt anything that the international Codex Alimentarius wants.

That was even too much for the National Health Federation (NSF), which participates in Codex meetings to oppose any over-reaching agendas.  In a statement it said:

 “Some well-intentioned persons – hyper-sensitive to the threat of Codex to our health freedoms, a threat with which we agree – have claimed that this Executive Order is a backdoor attempt to adopt Codex Alimentarius “science-based” guidelines in the United States.

“These people point to Order Section 6(g), where it says that the Council’s report shall ‘contain specific plans to ensure that all prevention programs outside the Department of Health and Human Services are based on the science-based guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under subsection (d) of this section.’ 

“But does the use of the words “science based” mean that these guidelines are synonymous with Codex guidelines? 

“Not really.  While the Executive Order is real, it is not imposing Codex rules on the United States.  As NSF lobbyist Lee Bechtel correctly points out, ”here is no direct policy link between this Council and Codex, or with the way in which the FDA regulates food and food supplements.’

“Having said that, this 6(d) language does mention the word ‘nutrition’ as well (albeit within the context of the Healthy People 2020 program of the DHS); and nutrition is a subject of Codex. 

“As such, ‘science based’ guidelines applied here could allow a smoother interface between domestic and international food guidelines at a small contact point that they might possibly have in the future. 

“It would be akin to saying that panty-hose manufacturing techniques are related to food because the nylon fabric might someday be used in straining soup.  So, in a broader and greatly-more-general context, there is a very-small kernel of strained logic to support the belief that this is another small step towards the Codex ‘door.’

“But is it the Door itself, backdoor or otherwise?  Absolutely not.” 

Codex Alimentarius, or Codex, is a multinational standards-setting body that has an important role in world food safety.   Its role goes beyond that, of course, but if there’s going to be a world safe level set for pesticide in cherries, for example, Codex is where you go.

Most of what Codex does is pretty boring.  The conspiracy theorists, however, believe Codex is a secret plot to ban or tightly control supplements, vitamins, and basically any alternative medicine or therapy whether is from an herb or flower.

Pulling the strings, they say, is the large world pharmaceutical companies, or BIG PHARMA, which does not want any of us keeping ourselves well if they are not making a buck.

The last time this all bubbled up was in the early 1990s, and the people who believe in this conspiracy actually won a giant legislative victory.   Senator Orrin Hatch, R-UT, succeeded in 1994 in passing his Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) into Public Law 103-417.

That law guaranteed Americans the right to supplements and alternative medicine, and, according to the theorists, sent BIG PHARMA to Europe where it has supposedly had more success.

Now they say things like the vitamins and dietary supplements sold in Germany are at such low doses that they are worthless, and a French woman was supposedly arrested under drug charges for growing a herb garden.

Before telling you that any of this is true, I am waiting for the footnotes.