Health Canada Unleashes More Attacks on Healthy Choices for Canadians
Date: Friday, October 14 2005
Press Release – Canadian Action Party- October 14, 2005
Health Canada Unleashes More Attacks on Healthy Choices for Canadians
It has been reported to Canadian Action Party that Health Canada is once again up to its unhealthy strategies against the Canadian people. Canadian Action Party has received documentation regarding the latest Health Canada attack on consumers, small farms and alternative health choices. According to our sources, The Natural Health Products Directorate has unleashed new guidelines requiring ‘stakeholders’ to apply for a site licence. Their letter of notice states, ‘Those individuals and businesses who do not have a site licence by December 31,2005 will be subject to compliance action up to and including the immediate halt of all operations until a valid site licence is issued by the NHPD.’ We have received a copy of a substantial letter from Faunus Herbs Inc. requesting clarification from Health Canada on the purpose and wisdom of site licences for small farms, producers of herbs and natural health products in Canada. (copy below)
We fully support the contents of Faunus Herbs Inc’s letter and oppose the offensive nature of the government’s proposed legislation. Canadian Action Party defends the right to healthy choices for Canadians. Health Canada’s new restrictions for small producers clearly support multinational corporations including ‘big pharma’ as they increase their control on the market. Mr. Morcinek(Faunus Herbs Inc.) states in his letter, ‘It is clear to me that these new regulations will mostly help Health Canada to increase its budget(more bureaucrats), and to deliver more of the marketplace to the larger drug and vitamin companies…’ Canadian Action Party stands firmly 100% in agreement with this statement.
Connie Fogal, Leader of Canadian Action Party, implores government to rethink their actions now! “We are being inundated with new regulations, which neither protect consumers nor ensure safety, prosperity nor security for Canadian small producers. Once again we are becoming victims of government bureaucracy under a veil of secrecy.”
‘When was there parliamentary debate on drastic changes to regulations in Canada? Where is accountability to the public?' Ms Fogal concedes that this new red-tape will contribute to the eradication of small business in Canada. “The loss of jobs related to the industry will be crippling and the threat to our food supply critical. It seems incredibly ridiculous to threaten products which have been produced safely in Canada for over 100 years. The expense attached to these new restrictions for small producers, will inadvertently remove healthy alternative choices for Canadians.”
Canadian Action Party Vice President Catherine Whelan Costen has been following the CODEX threat to Canada’s vitamins and minerals availability and use in Canada, under the guise of new so-called smart regulations. She agrees with Faunus Herbs Inc.’s statement in its entirety. Whelan Costen expressed her concerns, “The writing is on the wall and the message is dire. Canadians must not issue a permission slip to truant adolescents engaging in this destructive behaviour. We must restrain Health Canada today. Impose harsh penalties for actions against the public good, and infuse Health Canada with a healthy dose of reality. Clearly the Liberals today are pursuing an unholy open marriage with faceless corporate bed partners. Swapping partners as it suits their fancy, comparable only to the Conservatives in their hay day.” She continues, “ Seemingly neither party once given the reigns of power consider the evil offspring of their relationships. We really must begin to question the motives and actions of government. If they are not working for Canadians, who are they working for?”
Canadian Action Party demands on behalf of Canadians, that the current government cease this insanity before it destroys the solid foundation of small business in Canada.
Connie Fogal, Leader ,Canadian Action Party/ parti action Canadienne
Tel: (604)872 2128; or (604) 708 3372
(FAX: 604) 872 -1504
Catherine Whelan Costen, Vice President, Communications Director & Candidate
Tel: 403-684-3514 or 403-660-0449
Canadian ActionParty Head office : # 385- 916 West Broadway,
Vancouver BC, V521K7; e mail: email@example.com
Letter received from Faunus Herbs Inc.:
Health Canada Minister questioned by Small businessman: "Are we to be penalized for being a farm based business?"
for Faunus Herbs Inc.
3rd October 2005
Attn: Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh
Federal Minister of Health
House of Commons
Room 278, Confederation Bldg.
Fax: (613) 995-2962 Phone: (613) 995-7052
I am writing this letter in the hope that you, and others in your department, read it and then begin to understand the difficult if not impossible situation into which we have been placed, in regard to meeting the new proposed regulatory requirements being imposed upon us by Health Canada.It is essential that I meet with you personally immediately, to discuss the issues I have outlined below.
Our company, Faunus Herbs, is a small farm-based family enterprise, and has been in the business of growing herbs and producing formulae (both liquids and encapsulated) for over 25 years. We employ 12-15 full-time staff – good jobs with security and decent wages and benefits, in an economically depressed part of rural Ontario. We have gained an excellent reputation for quality and customer service throughout Canada, the United States and elsewhere, and have been instrumental in developing new products that are now the mainstay of the food based medicine industry in Canada.
Faunus Herbs has been a leading edge innovator in Canada, and we were the very first annually inspected and regulated, Certified Organic herb farm and manufacturer of herbal products, in North America. The development of Canadian produced herbal products, as opposed to continual imports, owes much to our company. For many years we were the only local producers of many products that are now considered industry and consumer standards. Our farm and facilities have been inspected regularly and frequently by international regulatory agencies –with our business receiving written plaudits for our QC and operations systems. We welcomed visitors from around the world, and were used as a model for successful farm/rural vertical integration in the US Canada and Central and South America.
During all of our years in business, we have always done everything possible to comply with every regulation – labeling or QC. The Canadian Food Directorate staff visited us several times - and never came by again. We have been inspected by local authorities, workplace safety officials, etc., who all commented on our integrity and our commitment to quality and safety. I dare say that you would be hard pressed to find any Canadian, natural food based medicine company, with such a record. In accordance with federal regulations, health claims have never been made for any product that we have manufactured and sold.
As for our industry trade association, I know it well. I personally worked with the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) for four years during the mid to late 1990’s, developing their data management, membership, regulatory and accounting systems – even producing their marketing and promotional materials in direct daily consulta! tion with their Executive Director. I am very much aware of the current direction the CHFA has taken, which appears to be driven by the greed and opportunism of the larger, privately owned “players” in conjunction with the stock market traded, publicly owned companies, who now control this organisation. As one of its key larger members remarked during a public meeting, unconsciously rubbing his hands together, “… and if the smaller guys can’t meet these new regulations, let them go under ….”
I have provided this abbreviated history of our company to give you some idea of where we are coming from. We are a small farm business - and we have deliberately chosen to remain small. In our local rural community we are respected and admired for our commitment to employee safety and personal development. Most of our staff have been with us for years… some for over a decade. We are fortunate to have a workplace that is a pleasure to work in.
Our small farm business has generated of millions of dollars in tax revenue for Canadians over the years. As primary producers we are well aware that for every job we create, at least 7-10 jobs are produced “down the line”. At the retail level, our annual production of products is worth more than four million dollars. Our customers are predominately medical practitioners (MD’s, Naturopaths, Chiropractors, Herbalists, etc.) and we do some contract manufacturing for a few retail distributors. We are still using the same marketing materials that we used more than 20 years ago… they are still current, still being imitated - and still relevant. We have always believed that we were an asset to our community, and by extension to Canada. Yet we are now being told by Health Canada, that unless we apply for a “site license” and register all our individual products, we will have to close our business, or be forcibly closed by Health Canada directly!
(See attachment #1)
Faunus Herbs manufactures and sells single and combination formulae that potentially involve the registration of over a thousand products. Many of these formulae are produced “on demand” according to practitioner/client request. We pride ourselves on the traditional artisan nature of our work. Herbs are grown, produced and collected, according to established, Hermetic and Eclectic principles. Products are manufactured first and foremost for effectiveness and quality, using herbs that are not always readily available. We work with dozens of farmers and growers, wild herb gatherers, even aboriginal Shamen. Herbs are collected for us here in Canada and all over the world. Our manufacturing and growing processes do not fall into, and are incompatible with, a rigid and formal drug-based regulatory model, that is designed specifically for inherently toxic products that are synthetically derived.
As well as conflicting with our traditional growing and production practices, implementing the proposed regulatory regime according to Health Canada’s own figures) will cost us well in excess of one hundred thousand dollars - even to begin site licensing and product registration!
During the development of the new NHP regulations, I attended several meetings in Toronto and expressed my concerns. I was treated with condescension - some might say contempt. No one at any of these meetings seemed to have a clue about what I was saying. I was told several times (by a Mr. Philip Waddington) that it was not Health Canada’s intention to drive us out of business, and that my concerns would be addressed – including financial assistance. I know that we are not the only company in this dreadful position. Many of my clients have informed me that more than 50% of their suppliers will cease to provide them with products by the end of the year. Quite clearly this is a serious problem…
It is my understanding that, according to Health Canada, there are more than 2500 businesses in Canada that require site licenses, involving over 50,000 food based products. Currently only 300 site licenses are approved, and only a tiny percentage of the products have been giv! en a “permit” for sale in Canada. At the current rate of regulatory implementation it will take over one hundred years to regulate just the current products sold in Canada!
Again, the only way for you and your staff to even begin to understand the issues outlined in this letter, is for you to visit our farm and processing facilities.
It is clear to me that these new regulations will mostly help Health Canada to increase its budget (more bureaucrats), and to deliver more of the marketplace to the larger drug and vitamin companies, who can afford to implement these new proposed “drug” regulations. In fact, these companies are already “drug” regulated – therefore implementation will cost them nothing. When you consider that more that 80% of the businesses in our industry are small (under $5,000,000 in sales annually) the consequences are clear – and dire. The low level of applications and registrations of products to date speak quite clearly to this.
For goodness sake, small business is the backbone of the Canadian economy – it employs more persons per dollar invested than any other segment of the economy - by far. Yet it appears that this new excessive regulation and site licensing is merely going to open up our industry to the large pharmaceutical companies (very few jobs, government subsi! dies, profits sent offshore etc.) and result in a considerable reduction in the number of quality products available to Canadians.
The food-based medicine products that we grow and produce help prevent, treat, and in some cases cure, many of the chronic diseases and health problems that currently afflict Canadians. Food based medicines, on a global basis, are in fact the primary health care choice for more than 50% of the world’s population. The current allopathic medical model has clearly failed in Canada, and our sole reliance on toxic and synthetic drugs has not delivered improved health to Canadians, and is in fact in the process of bankrupting our nation. A recent study indicated that for every dollar of cost that governments added to our manufactured, food based medicine products, publicly funded health care costs increased by approximately 400%.
And let us be very clear - these products that we manufacture are demonstrably among the safest food products available in the world today. Every statistical analysis obtainable indicates very plainly that the vast majority of the products that we grow and manufacture are perfectly safe. Consumers are statistically more than 100 times more likely to be killed or injured by eating a beef burger at home or in a restaurant, than suffering injury or harm from consuming the products we produce. Consuming Health Canada’s currently approved toxic and synthetic drug “medicines” will increase your risk of death or injury more than 20,000 times, and is the number one cause of death in Canada.
Some more questions for you…
1. Why are you attempting to close our business of over 25 years? What have we done to deserve this? Is it your intent to wipe out hundreds of small, law abiding and tax paying businesses across Canada? What shall we tell our children and families?
2. To meet the new proposed regulatory requirements would require us to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars that we do not have. We cannot increase prices; competition from big business and cheap imports makes this impossible. Will you provide us with the funding? Will you restrict imports?
3. Can you help us to obtain a site license? We need personnel and/or funding – will you provide one or the other?
4. Canadian consumers can purchase as many U.S. sourced dietary food supplements as they wish over the internet. Will our borders be closed to consumers who purchase these products from the U.S.? Will all personal mail and parcels be opened and inspected to prevent the entry of these products?
5. Herbal products are imported from China, India and other countries. Are these imported products (running into the thousands) now to be banned in Canada if they do not meet the new regulatory requirements? If not… why not?
6. Why do we needmultiple site licenses (grower, manufacturer, distributor, product developer, etc. etc.)? In heaven’s name, we are just a small farm-based business!
7. We have never any claims for any product that we have sold in over 25 years. These herbs/foods have been sold legally in Canada for hundreds of years. Will it now be illegal to sell an herb or food in a capsule or liquid form without an NHP number? Even without a medical/health claim?
8. If the answer to the above question is yes, would it be illegal to sell capsules containing coffee? Tea? Other food substances? Does having a food product, packaged in a capsule and/or liquid delivery form, automatically make that food a new drug in Canada? Does it then make GST tax free food products GST taxable? Please note that herbs are packaged into a capsule as a convenient method of use – not as a system of dosage.
9. I understand that the products produced and sold by our family farm business are defined as foods under existing legislation, because we make no health claims. Does this mean that if we do not voluntarily register, and make the mandatory health claims, then our products remain legislatively defined as foods, making it unnecessary for us to comply with the new sub category of drug regulations?
10. The new regulations are riddled with bizarre contradictions. What applies in a farm field outside our facility doors, compared to what applies inside the facility buildings is completely contradictory. On the farm side of the doors I can legally spray our herbs with banned neurotoxins, coat them in diesel fumes, sprinkle them with used oil, grease and rubber, cover them with animal excrement, even urinate upon them, yet on the facility side of the door I must wear a hazmat suit and instigate strict drug industry quarantine rules, even to just pick up and handle the exact same herbs! Regulatory systems developed and intended for chemical drugs, manufactured from sterile chemicals in a sterile environment, become nonsensical when applied to organic, farmed and wild-gathered herbs. Please explain to me how and why this is not bureaucracy and regulation gone mad?
Please understand that we have no problem with appropriate regulation. We are currently regulated locally, provincially and federally as a food producer. It is just that these new proposed regulations are outside of our current abilities to implement; they are simply too expensive and would destroy our traditional methods of production. Are my staff and I to be thrown on the scrap heap of welfare and poverty because we are not a large enough business? Are we to be penalized for being a farm based business? Are our questions to be ignored because we employ no lobbyists and make no monetary contributions to political parties?
The real tragedy of course, is that the food-based medicine industry, which has been built over the last hundred years in Canada, mostly by small family-owned farm businesses just like ours, is going to be destroyed.
Is this what you really intend to accomplish here in Canada, with these new proposed regulations?
The allopathic minded “regulators” at Health Canada once threatened many of us with imprisonment for selling herbs and vitamins that are now considered mainstream. In fact, several of my more renowned peers once served prison time for promoting health and nutrition, and its role in preventing disease! And now, the very people that fought to destroy our industry over the years (big pharma, allopathic medical doctors and pharmacists, and their respective trade and lobby groups, and the mass market food sector) are poised to take it all over – with your help and my tax dollars!
I look forward to further communication with you, as time is quickly running out for my staff, and the farmers and others with whom we work.
Please respond as soon as possible.
Please note - I have already invested the time and money to attend as a witness before the federal Standing Committee on Health (May 11, 2005), to advise you and your colleagues of the damaging effects that the proposed federal regulatory initiatives are having on farms, and farm-based businesses like ours. Is anyone listening?
If you are not able to immediately visit our farm and facilities, due to understandable scheduling difficulties, we are willing to come to Ottawa to meet with you, and as soon as practically possible.
We all still have faith in the decency and fairness of our Canadian political, legal and regulatory system, and we depend on you to reaffirm our confidence in that system by meeting with us as soon as possible. We urgently need to find common ground for the benefit of our collective trade and economic security. I thank you in advance for your prompt response.
for Faunus Herbs Inc.
The purpose of this message is to follow up on our announcement of May and July 2005,and remind stakeholders that the December 31, 2005, deadline is fast approaching and that those individuals who have not yet submitted a site licence application should do so as soon as possible.
INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES THAT HAVE NOT BEEN GRANTED A VALID SITE LICENCE BY THE DECEMBER 31, 2005, DEADLINE WILL BE SUBJECT TO COMPLIANCE ACTION UP TO AND INCLUDING THE IMMEDIATE HALT OF ALL OPERATIONS UNTIL A VALID SITE LICENCE IS ISSUED BY THE NHPD.
Further information is available on the NHPD's Web site at:www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpfb-dgpsa/nhpd-dpsn/site_licence_deadline_f.html
The Natural Health Products Directoratewww.healthcanada.ca/nhpd
Suite à nos annonces de mai et juillet 2005, ce présent message a pour objet de rappeler aux intervenants de l'industrie que la date limite du 31 décembre 2005 approche à grands pas et que ceux qui n'ont pas encore présenté leur demande de licence d'exploitation doivent le faire le plus rapidement possible.
LES INDIVIDUS ET ENTREPRISES N'AYANT PAS OBTENU UNE LICENCE D'EXPLOITATION VALIDE AVANT L'ÉCHÉANCE DU 31 DÉCEMBRE 2005 SERONT SOUMIS À DES MESURES DE CONFORMITÉ Y COMPRIS LA SUSPENSION IMMÉDIATE DE TOUTES LEURS ACTIVITÉS JUSQU'À CE QU'UNE LICENCE D'EXPLOITATION VALIDE AIT ÉTÉ ÉMISE PAR LA DPSN.
Des renseignements additionnels sont disponibles sur le site Web de la DPSN à l'adresse suivante :
La Direction des produits de santé naturels www.santecanada.ca/dpsn
NHPD_Bulletin_DPSN is a product of the Natural Health Products Directorate at Health Canada.
NHPD_Bulletin_DPSN est offert par la Direction des produits de santé naturels de Santé Canada.
Pour résilier votre abonnement, envoyer un courriel à NHPD_bulletin_DPSNfirstname.lastname@example.org
Some great related links:
HPFB-DGPSA Deadline site.
Alliance of Natural Health Suppliers
Health Canada English: www.healthcanada.ca/nhpd
Santé Canada Français: www.santecanada.ca/dpsn
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on October 15, 2005]