Natural Products an Important Part of Canada's Economy: More Needs to be Done



    OTTAWA, Feb. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Following Tuesday's announcement of the
2008 Federal Budget by Minister Flaherty, the Canadian Health Food Association
(CHFA) has announced it is pleased to see that $33 million will be allocated
to the Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD). However, CHFA believes that
the Government missed an opportunity through the tax system to enable
Canadians to better manage their health.
    "The Government is to be applauded for recognizing the importance of
responding to Canadians," said CHFA President and CEO Penelope Marrett. "A
robust and thriving natural health products (NHP) industry will help to ensure
that Canadians have access and choice when they are seeking NHPs.
    However, Marrett said that as a regulator, what is needed is A-based
funding for NHPD, since they are currently dealing with a serious backlog of
applications from 2004 when the regulations came into being.
    "This backlog is of grave concern to our members," said Marrett," We have
already seen how this backlog has had a very negative impact on our industry
which includes many small businesses. But most importantly, we are worried
that this backlog is hindering the supply of these products to Canadians, many
of whom rely on NHPs for their health and wellbeing."
    "The government needs to do more to strengthen the ability of Canadians
to better manage their own care, including the use of NHPs," said Marrett.
"Enhancing self-care is of primary importance to Canadians and will save
Canada's health system millions of dollars a year."
    NHPs have become increasingly popular as Canadians look for better ways
to manage their health. Over 75 per cent of Canadians purchased natural health
products in 2005, according to an Ipsos Reid survey. NHPs available in Canada
include vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, and
traditional Chinese medicines. The Canadian NHP industry is currently valued
at over $2.5 billion and is growing.
    Additionally, CHFA strongly recommends that the Government allocate some
of the $72 million earmarked for farm programs to farmers wishing to move from
conventional farming to organic.
    The popularity of organic products also continues to grow in Canada. The
organics industry is currently valued at over $1 billion and growing at a rate
of 20% a year.

    The Canadian Health Food Association (www.chfa.ca) is Canada's largest
national trade association dedicated to the natural and organic products
industry. Our members represent the entire supply chain including growers,
manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and importers involved in
a variety of industry sub-sectors such as vitamin and mineral supplements,
herbal products, homeopathics, sports nutrition products, natural and organic
foods, fibres and health and beauty aids. CHFA member products support
Canadians seeking optimal health and quality of life.




For further information:

For further information: Catherine Fortin LeFaivre, CHFA Public
Relations, Cell: (613)-447-1543, catherine@impactcanada.com; Natalie Cajic,
CHFA Communications Coordinator, (416) 497-6939, ext 234, ncajic@chfa.ca


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