Canada’s controversial Natural Health Products (NHP) Directorate must be amended if the Canadian functional foods market is not to face severe long-term regulatory restriction, according to a leading trade group there.
The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) says since the rule came into play in 2004, about half of the 26,000 products seeking registration have been withdrawn or rejected.
A further 12,000 require processing by Canadian regulators before a deadline of April, 2010.
“It is vital for our members to get involved and contact their local Member of Parliament,” said CHFA president and chief executive officer, Penelope Marrett.
“Our industry is in crisis and there is an extremely urgent need to find a solution.”
To push its case, CHFA has launched a campaign backed by a new website, www.SaveOurNaturalHealthProducts.ca, to highlight the fact the number of natural health products will be slashed significantly reduced unless immediate improvements are made to the product licensing process.
“Without significant changes, the industry's revenues, profitability, and viability in Canada will be at risk,” CHFA said.
It has called on the Canadian regulator, Health Canada, to work more closely with it and its members to ensure maximum choice among healthy products for Canadians.
CHFA is also encouraging its members to contact local Members of Parliament, as well as the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health.
Rules governing organic products came into play in June this year.
“Safety for Canadian consumers has always been our primary concern,” Marrett said.
“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”.