CHFA champions legislation for natural health products

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Natural health products Canada Dietary supplements

The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) last week met with Canadian MPs in its continued efforts to ensure “fair and effective” food and drug legislation that does not penalize the nation’s natural health products industry.

The meetings on Parliament Hill come after the government’s announcement during the Speech from the Throne earlier last month that legislation amending the Food and Drugs Act would be re-introduced in the current parliamentary session.

This follows a major focus by industry last year on the Food and Drugs Act, after the proposal of an amendment to the act – Bill C-51 – was said to make it more difficult for dietary supplements to achieve natural health product status by subjecting them to costly pharma-style registration procedures.


In last week’s meetings with MPS from all parties CHFA and a group of its member companies stressed that this new legislation must reflect the safer nature of natural health products (NHP) as compared to drugs.

CHFA president and CEO Penelope Marrett said proper industry consultation must take place before any new legislation is tabled.

“Our industry is totally committed to the safety of Canadians. Because unsafe products not only hurt consumers, but they also hurt the perception of the industry as a whole,”​ she said.

CHFA has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that natural health products are considered a category of their own, rather than considered – and regulated –as foods or drugs.

Moving forward

Last spring, the group met with then Minister of Health Tony Clement and said it was “encouraged by the government’s willingness to listen”.

It commended the subsequent introduction of amendments to former Bill C-51 as “a step in the right direction, which would have placed NHPs in a separate category, and no longer as a sub-set of drugs.”

However, it said that there is still much work to be done, especially in light of new organic regulations coming into force in 2009 and the continued implementation of the NHP regulations.

According to the group, the Canadian government needs to ensure that these regulations are appropriate, achievable and cost-effective for small, medium and large enterprises.

The Canadian natural health products and organics industry is currently estimated to be worth $3.5bn. According to CHFA, around three quarter of Canadians use NHPs.

Related topics Regulation

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