Robyn Benson, PSAC

To your good health


Deregulation? Don’t swallow that!

Some scientists at Guelph University recently took it upon themselves to test a number of commercially-sold herbal products from health food stores. They discovered that people were buying additional contaminants and a range of unlabelled ingredients, some of which are toxic or could trigger allergic reactions—if they were even paying for the substances they thought they were purchasing.

Earlier this year, the Canadian Health Food Association applauded Prime Minister Stephen Harper for cutting red tape and “modernizing the regulatory system.” The government, for its part, promised that Canadians would have greater access to natural health products, through a “more efficient” approval system.

There are only two dots here, so feel free to connect them for yourselves.

The Harper government has only one rule when it comes to business: deregulate. If there is to be regulation, then industry is asked to police itself, or buyers are simply told to beware.

We’ve seen the same scenario play out in the past with transfats and salt, not to mention meat. Ideology, to this government, is far more important than the health of Canadians.

Now, to add insult to almost certain injury, we are told that the government is going to make consumer protection a key item in its mid-term agenda. Apparently this means not having to pay for cable channels we don’t want and getting treated better by Canada’s airlines.

All good, of course, although our lives hardly depend on either. But could this new emphasis on the consumer include the stuff that we, you know, actually consume? No word as yet. But don’t hold your breath. It’s bad for you.

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This page contains a single entry by Robyn Benson, PSAC published on October 16, 2013 8:29 AM.

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