Health Canada’s and the Food Inspection Agency’s first concern is to protect the health of Canadians and those who import our products.
The primary concern of Health Canada and the Food Inspection Agency is first and foremost to protect the health of Canadians and those who import our products. In general, when the product, for example spinach or beetroot, can be taken without limit (non-abusive consumption) and it does not cause any problems to the body, it is classified by the government as a food. When taken in even moderate doses, the consumption of a plant involves even minor health risks, it is classified as a natural health product with very strict guidelines on permitted doses, duration of use, warnings, etc. When the risks of its consumption are dangerous to health, it is defended or classified as a prescription drug with more than limited access. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulates food and Health Canada regulates natural health products, homeopathic products and medicines.
That the effectiveness of certain substances is sometimes questioned does not necessarily make a medicinal ingredient unacceptable but, if there is the slightest danger, it is an automatism. The first thing to do when developing a natural health product is to demonstrate to Health Canada that it is safe to consume. It is only then that its effectiveness must be demonstrated, supported by scientific studies already carried out on humans around the world, while assuring Health Canada that the product will be manufactured according to the latter’s strict standards. All of these conditions must be met prior to the issuance of the marketing licence that allows the products to be sold in natural health stores and pharmacies.
Without this licence from Health Canada, it is prohibited to sell any natural health product.