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Natural health products--neither food nor drugs.

The Canadian Health Food Association, Canada's largest trade association representing the natural products and organics industry, is asking federal parliamentarians to make good on a promise made ten years ago when reviewing legislation to amend the current Food and Drugs Act or Bill C-51.

Tabled April 8, Bill C-51 is intended to modernize Canada's regulatory system for foods, drugs, and cosmetics, which hasn't seen a major review since 1953. According to Health Canada, "therapeutic products" covers all products used for therapeutic purposes, such as drugs, medical devices, cells, tissues, organs, and veterinary drugs, as well as natural health products (NHPs).

"NHPs are low-risk products that are neither foods nor drugs," says CHFA president Penelope Marrett, "a conclusion accepted by the House of Common's Standing Committee on Health in 1998 but that has yet to be honoured."

Then Health Minister Allan Rock announced in 1999 that he accepted all 53 recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Health in its report on NHPs. The report, Natural Health Products: A New Vision, led to the Office of Natural Health Products, now called the Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD), and the implementation of the Standing Committee's 53 recommendations.

"Bill C-51 is the perfect opportunity to respond to the very first of the 53 recommendations with the creation of a separate category for NHPs in the legislation," says Marrett.

Other significant amendments to the Food and Drugs Act proposed in Bill C-51 include increased powers of enforcement and higher penalties/fines to persons contravening a provision of the Act and regulations.

"What is needed now is a separate category that ensures the more than 75 percent of Canadians who have ever used NHPs to achieve optimal health and well-being continue to have access and choice," says Marrett.

The Canadian Health Food Association is Canada's largest national trade association dedicated to the natural and organic products industry. 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. To learn more visit www.chfa.ca.

Canadian Health Food Association
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Title Annotation:REGULATORY NEWS
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Date:Jul 1, 2008
Words:366
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