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Food and Nutrition

Foods marketed as Natural Health Products

Some products with added vitamins, minerals or amino acids that appear to be foods, as well as foods making certain health claims, have previously been able to gain market access as Natural Health Products (NHP) under the Natural Health Products Regulations (NHPR). Examples of food products that are currently marketed as NHPs include energy drinks, waters and juices with added vitamins and minerals, and yogourts and bars with specific health claims. These products represent a very small portion (2%) of the approximately 50,000 NHPs currently in the market.

Definition:

Food: ( Next link will take you to another Web site Section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act) Any article manufactured, sold or represented for use as a food or drink for human beings, including chewing gum, and any ingredients that may be mixed with food for any purpose whatever.

Given that these products share characteristics of both foods and NHPs, they have caused confusion among consumers. To resolve this confusion, Health Canada has undertaken a phased transition of food products currently marketed as NHPs to the food regulatory framework while maintaining the safety of the food supply and minimizing as much as possible disruption to the stream of commerce.

The end goal of this transition process is to ensure that products that look like foods and are consumed as foods are regulated as foods. In doing so, Canadians will be able to make more informed choices due to consistent nutrition information and labelling requirements.

Related information

Contact us: SMIU-UGDI@hc-sc.gc.ca