Today, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) is on Parliament Hill to promote its new campaign, SaveOurNaturalHealthProducts.ca, and to bring awareness to problems faced by Canada’s Natural Health Products and Organic Industry. CHFA believes that Canadians seeking optimal health and well-being should continue to have access to innovative high quality natural health products, as well as a wide selection of high-quality organics. However both of these industries currently face serious challenges in their efforts to meet growing consumer demand.
Since the Natural Health Products (NHP) Regulations were implemented six years ago, the natural health products sector has worked hard to comply with over 41,000 product license applications submitted to the Natural Health Product Directorate (NHPD) of Health Canada. After five years, just over 16,000 applications have been approved for a license, more than 10,000 applications remain to be evaluated, and of those evaluated, almost 40% have been refused or withdrawn.
With Health Canada considering compliance action in the near future, without significant changes, many of the natural health products currently being sold will no longer be available, and new NHPs will be significantly reduced. The industry's revenues, profitability, and viability in Canada are at risk and with them, thousands of jobs across the country.
In addition, Canada’s Organic Products Regulations came into force on June 30, 2009. However, the transition period, particularly for imports from the US of organic-certified produce containing sodium nitrate, is not what the industry had understood it would be. The industry believes that organic produce shelves will be bare this winter as a result.
“We will continue to work with Health Canada to solve these problems on a collaborative basis,” stated Penelope Marrett, President and CEO of the CHFA. “While many positive changes have occurred, our industry remains in crisis. We have launched this campaign on Parliament Hill, to encourage our members to continue the dialogue with their MP. We will be persistent when working with Parliamentarians to ensure Canadians have access and choice to a wide variety of Natural Health and Organic products.”
The natural health products sector in Canada has been regulated since 2004; the new Organic Products Regulations have given Canadians more confidence in the industry and its products, but significant challenges remain. The CHFA represents 1,100 business owners and operators and is an industry that contributes $3.5 billion to the Canadian economy.
“Safety for Canadian consumers has always been our primary concern,” continued Marrett. “Our industry is totally committed to this principle. In order for Canadians to continue to have access to safe, high quality NHPs, we are committed to continue to working with the federal government to resolve this impending disaster”.
For more information on the CHFA, visit www.chfa.ca OR SaveOurNaturalHealthProducts.ca
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.
The Canadian Health Food Association is Canada’s largest national trade association dedicated to the natural and organic products industry. Our members represent the entire supply chain, including growers, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and importers involved in a variety of industry sub-sectors, such as vitamin and mineral supplements, herbal products, homeopathics, sports nutrition products, natural and organic foods, fibres and health and beauty aids. CHFA member products support Canadians seeking optimal health and well-being.