Food and Drugs Act amendments could benefit retailers


The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has thrown its support behind proposed amendments to the Food and Drugs Act introduced by the federal government last month, claiming they will significantly reduce the time it takes for product innovations to reach the market.

The amendments would create two new tools, “Marketing Authorizations” and “Incorporation by Reference,” that Karen Proud, vice-president, federal government relations for the RCC in Ottawa, says could significantly benefit retailers–particularly those that create private-label brands–in their efforts to bring revamped products to market.

Proud says the tools would significantly streamline the regulatory process for incorporating an approved additive, vitamin or mineral nutrient in a product, or approving a new health claim on food.

Citric acid, for example, is commonly used as a food additive to adjust food acidity in everything from canned pears and canned bean sprouts to canned mackerel.

Over the past 12 years, Health Canada has received numerous requests to approve its use in products including canned peaches, canned beans, canned apples and frozen squid–each one requiring an amendment to the Food and Drug Regulations, some of which took years to go through.

Adopting the amendments, says Proud, could significantly reduce the amount of time needed to approve such proposals.

“If a company comes up with something that’s good, that’s safe, that’s going to make things better, it can get it to market more quickly,” says Proud. “The consumer benefits from being able to have access to that product as quickly as possible.”

The “Incorporation by Reference” would allow regulators to refer to accepted standards when introducing product innovations.

Again, this would expedite the process, although the RCC is more guarded in its support of this particular initiative.

We’re happy that they have the flexibility, we’re just suggesting they have enough governance around it, that industry is consulted and they’re incorporating well accepted, scientifically valid standards, says Proud.

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