A friend of mine makes these incredible herbal salves and sells them at local farmer’s markets, or to her own clients in her therapeutic horses-helping-kids program. So I wondered if I could carry them in my Canadian LTYG Shoppe and offer them to my readers.
Well I asked my gal Isabel, who monitors all compliance issues with our Shoppes in all 4 countries, and oy vey – it is a process to ‘officially’ sell any kind of herbal product in Canada!
First, you have to start with GMP practices in order to get a site license:
“To be legally sold in Canada, all natural health products must have a product licence, and the Canadian sites that manufacture, package, label and import these products must have site licences.
To get product and site licences, specific labelling and packaging requirements must be met, good manufacturing practices must be followed, and proper safety and efficacy evidence must be provided.”
All Canadian manufacturers, packagers, labellers, and importers of natural health products must have site licenses. To get a licence, sites must maintain proper distribution records, have proper procedures for product recalls and for the handling, storage and delivery of their products, and demonstrate that they meet good manufacturing practice requirements.
What Classifies as a Natural Health Product (NHP)?
But wait – you’re just making a few pots of herbal salve that are applied to the skin, you’re not making pills or anything that will be ingested. People have made herbal salves for thousands of years. How can that be something that requires government regulation? I’ll just quote directly from the gov’t website to answer that:
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.
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
Many everyday consumer products, like certain toothpastes, antiperspirants, shampoos, facial products and mouthwashes are also classified as natural health products in Canada.
Here is another link to help you get started with frequently asked questions about this endeavour.
The standard operating procedures (SOPs) required for GMP compliance are hundred of pages, so this would be a big endeavour to take on.
The bottom line: We cannot sell any of her products in our shoppe if they don’t have an NPN (Natural Product Number) and in order to get an NPN, she will have to go through the entire process outlined above.
Well, all I can say is, thank god we don’t have Health Canada agents patrolling farmers markets and craft fairs! I’ve noticed a number of people selling locally-made plant-based items on Facebook and sometimes even from their own website. Perhaps if you’re a small seller, Health Canada isn’t going to worry about you.
I hope that helps you out, if you’ve been looking for this information. My friend hadn’t been able to find clear information before, so that’s why I put this post together for other people too, who might need the same answers.
Jini Patel Thompson is an internationally recognized expert on natural healing for digestive diseases. She healed herself from widespread Crohn’s Disease and has remained drug and surgery-free for over 20 years. Jini has appeared on numerous podcast, TV, and radio shows throughout the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia, giving people hope and vision for how they can heal their Colitis, Crohn’s, Diverticulitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), using entirely natural methods. Her books on natural healing for digestive diseases have sold worldwide in over 80 countries.