Today, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) and a group of its member business owners and operators representing the $3.5 billion Canadian natural health products (NHP) and organics industry were on Parliament Hill to discuss the importance of fair and effective food and drug legislation with Members of Parliament.
The meetings with MPs from all parties follow the Government’s announcement during the Speech from the Throne last week that legislation amending the Food and Drugs Act would be re-introduced in the current parliamentary session.
“Our industry is totally committed to the safety of Canadians,” said CHFA President & CEO Penelope Marrett, “because unsafe products not only hurt consumers, but they also hurt the perception of the industry as a whole.”
However, Marrett said that this new legislation must reflect the safer nature of NHPs, as compared to drugs, and that proper industry consultation must take place before any new legislation is tabled.
Last spring, CHFA met with then Minister of Health Tony Clement and was encouraged by the Government’s willingness to listen. It commended the subsequent introduction of amendments to former Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, 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.
“75 per cent of Canadians have used NHPs and want uninterrupted access and choice when purchasing these products.” said Marrett.
“Despite the positive steps that have taken place, there is still much work to be done. With new Organic Regulations coming into force in 2009 and the continued implementation of the NHP Regulations, we strongly believe that the Government must ensure that the principles of Smart Regulations must be considered – that is, they must be appropriate, achievable and cost-effective for small, medium and large enterprises. We believe it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that NHPs and organics will continue, now and into the future, to be available to Canadians seeking to achieve optimal health and well-being.”
National Health Food Month is held annually in November and focuses on the use of natural and organic products as an integral part of health promotion.
For more information on CHFA, visit www.chfa.ca.