The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has launched a lobby campaign to protect the natural health and organic products industry in Canada.

The group has launched a website - SaveOurNaturalHealthProducts.ca - to ensure that Canadians seeking "optimal health and well-being" will continue to have access to high quality natural and organic products, it said at the weekend (3 October).

Since the Natural Health Products (NHP) regulations were implemented six years ago, the natural health and organic products industry has worked hard to comply with over 38,000 product licence applications submitted to Health Canada, the CHFA said. After five years, around 13,000 applications have been approved for a licence, with around 50% being refused or withdrawn.

With Health Canada's deadline for approvals of April 2010 approaching, the CHFA said that many of the natural health products currently being sold will not be licenced for sale and the availability of new NHPs will be "significantly reduced" unless immediate improvements are made to the product licencing process.

"It is vital for our members to get involved and contact their local Member of Parliament," said CHFA president and CEO Penelope Marrett. "Our industry is in crisis and there is an extremely urgent need to find a solution."

The CHFA is encouraging its members to participate by contacting local Members of Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health to encourage them to implement solutions.

"Safety for Canadian consumers has always been our primary concern," said Marrett. "Our industry is totally committed to this principle. In order for Canadians to continue to have access to safe, high quality NHPs, we are committed to continue to working with the federal government to resolve this impending disaster".