In the October issue of Common Ground, we featured a special editorial supplement representing a call to protect our natural health products. Various industry stakeholders shared their perspectives on the serious impact that Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate regulations are having on the industry. See the complete editorial feature at www.commonground.ca (Issue #243, October).
The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) was also invited to participate, but we received their response after our October press deadline. The CHFA’s editorial contribution is below.
The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) is Canada’s largest national trade association dedicated to the natural health and organic products industries. With a membership that includes over 1,000 suppliers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers, CHFA actively represents the industries that contribute five billion to the Canadian economy.
With over 70 percent of Canadians using natural health products (NHPs), CHFA is also proud to recognize November as National Health Food Month, an annual initiative that shines a spotlight on the demonstrated benefits of natural health products and organic food. Health Food Month serves as a reminder to Canadians that natural health products and organic foods are safe and effective, federally regulated and an integral part of promoting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
All natural health products must undergo a pre-market review before they may be sold in Canada. This process requires that evidence supporting the safety, efficacy or any claims made and quality of the product be submitted to the Natural Health Products Directorate for assessment in order to be licensed. Canadians can identify products that have been licensed for sale in Canada by looking for the eight-digit Natural Product Number (NPN), Exemption Number (EN) or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) on the label.
Licensing becomes increasingly important when considering the number of Canadians who use natural health products on a daily basis. The unfortunate reality is that many don’t realize, and often take for granted, the threats to the availability of these products. Government legislation defines natural health products as a subset of drugs, which can be confusing for consumers, policy makers and the media.
The longstanding legislative priority for CHFA has been to remove natural health products as a subset of drugs under the existing Food and Drugs Act. Those involved in the industry know this request has remained constant for over a decade. In the late 1990s, CHFA and the industry were very active with educating key government representatives about the uniqueness of natural health products.
Following this, the Standing Committee on Health released a report in 1998 stating natural health products were neither foods nor drugs and the Food and Drugs Act should be modified accordingly. Thirteen years later, CHFA is still working to see this recommendation applied. CHFA continues to work with the government ensuring the collective voice of the industry is heard and consumer safety remains a priority.
To stay informed or to become involved, we invite you to join the conversation by friending us on facebook, following us on Twitter or visiting our website at www.chfa.ca
Editor’s note: Natural health products have only recently come under the jurisdiction of drugs via Health Canada’s recently formed Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD). Natural health products were under the food category until 2004, when they were more accessible to the public.
CHFA People of Excellence 2011Award winners
As part of the Conference program at Expo East last month in Toronto, CHFA took the opportunity to recognize the achievements of member companies and their employees who have made a difference to their businesses and the industry.
This year’s recipient of the CHFA Hall of Fame Award is Thomas Greither, president of Flora Manufacturing and Distributing Ltd. Thomas was recognized with this achievement for his many years of hard work as well as his impressive contribution and dedication to the growth and development of the natural health and organic products industry.
Additional award winners
CHFA Brock Elliott Award For Excellence in Retailing – Nature’s Emporium
Preferred Nutrition Award for Excellence in Retail Sales – Teresa D’Addario, Nature’s Emporium
Jack Gahler Memorial Awards for Excellence – Field: Neil Jacobs, Peak Performance Products Inc. Inside: Shelagh Bailey, Preferred Nutrition
Gordon Storie Memorial Bursary – Darcy McConnell, Vita Health Fresh Market
CHFA Supplier of Excellence Award – Body Plus Nutritional Products Inc.
CHFA Spotlight Award in the Category of Innovation – Retailer: Nature’s Emporium. Supplier: Genuine Health
CHFA Exhibit Awards – Large: Nature’s Way. Medium: Theobroma Chocolat. Small: North American Hemp Company
People’s Choice Award – Giddy Yoyo Chocolate