CCA Advocates for Allergen Labelling on Natural Health Products
What are natural health products?
According to Health Canada, “Natural health products (NHPs) are naturally occurring substances that are used to restore or maintain good health. They are often made from plants, but can also be made from animals, microorganisms, and marine sources. They come in a wide variety of forms like tablets, capsules, tinctures, solutions, creams, ointments, and drops. Many everyday consumer products, like certain toothpaste, antiperspirants, shampoos, facial products, and mouthwashes are also classified as natural health products in Canada.”
Natural health products often called “complementary” or “alternative” medicines, include:
- vitamins and minerals
- herbal remedies
- homeopathic medicines
- traditional medicines like traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic (East Indian) medicines
- other products like amino acids and essential fatty acids
Why Natural Health Products Matter to People with CD
Currently, natural health products are not required to list any allergen, gluten or aspartame ingredients, leaving the celiac community open to serious adverse reactions to products they are ingesting to help improve health.
How is the CCA Involved?
Over the past four years, CCA has been one of the major stakeholders working with Health Canada to help advance the introduction of priority allergen labelling including gluten on natural health products. This is a major milestone and innovation according to Health Canada representatives in a recent online session for the launch of the new clear and plain language labelling regulations. Allergen and gluten identification is now seen as a high priority for Health Canada as it reviews new regulations thanks to the work of stakeholders. After the public consultations are complete, the government will review the feedback and make its recommendations to the Treasury Board for approval and publish in the next year.
The federal government opened public consultations to receive feedback on these regulations. We encouraged our gluten-free community and local chapters to help us demonstrate that we want and need these regulations to come into force for the protection of our health. CCA submitted a formal submission in time for the September 24, 2021 deadline.
What you need to know
Changes are being proposed to make the purchasing of natural health products so that you can make a more informed choice.
- Product Facts Table – will be clearly identified using black and white font no less than 6 point font size.
- Allergen Labelling – all priority allergens including gluten and aspartame-containing ingredients will be required on both product and outer packaging both listed as an Allergen Alert and Warning Section.
- Modernized Contact Information – contact information will now include website and email addresses so that you can contact the company with your questions.
- Digital Labelling – companies will be encouraged to provide supplemental information on their websites as part of enhanced information but not a substitute for good labelling. Priority has been given to what information people need to make a point of purchase versus point of use.
What we need to share
- We support these changes – Share your support with CCA to wholeheartedly and encourage the government to move forward with the allergen warnings.
- On-line Shopping – There needs to be regulations surrounding how natural health products are sold online. Consumers need to have access to the same product information online as they would shopping in person. In addition, manufacturers cannot ‘bait and switch’ or substitute products. Products shown must be available for sale in Canada and meet the regulatory requirements as if sold in store.
How you can help!
- Click here to learn more about what is changing.
- Click here to read the CCA’s official submission to the government.
- Have a question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or comments.