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Keeping it natural
According to Health Canada, 73 percent of Canadians use natural health products (NHPs). Statistics Canada reported in 2004 that more than 300 NHP companies generated $2.9 billion in revenue, employed close to 13,000 people and exported $545 million worth of products.
The British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Natural Health & Food Products Research Group (NRG) is developing ways to determine the safety, reliability and effectiveness of natural health products. The research group has worked with major companies, such as Jamieson and Natural Factors among others.
The research is defining the quality of natural health products and is now focusing on a “True Source” certification; geographic indicators that will help manufacturers market their product as being Canadian. For example, the lab is working on developing tools that can establish the country of origin of ginseng so that producers can officially verify their ginseng as Canadian.
Maintaining high regulatory standards has boosted the reputation of Canada’s NHP industry, helping it to expand into areas such as Asia Pacific where health-conscious and aging populations are looking for high-quality, preventative natural health products.