Approved By Health Canada – Not

[BPSDB]
Back in February I did a piece coverning the medical claims made by the distributers of xocai chocolate. The conclusion I came to was that it was a load of bull, which obviously did not go down well in certain quarters as the post was trolled by a horde of marketting trolls, one of whom made claims of approval by Health Canada which turned out to be provably false.

A gentleman calling himself Rob Provenzano had this to say:-

So, you know more than Health Canada??
Great news, Raw cold pressed chocolate made by MXI Corp has been classed as a Health Food and approved by Health Canada for the following:
• Source of antioxidants to support good health
• Helps to maintain Circulatory and cardiovascular health
• Helps support healthy blood pressure
• Reduces low-density lipoprotein oxidative susceptibility and increases serum high-density lipoprotein concentrations to support good health
• Reduces platelet aggregation for the maintenance of good health.

I asked for a link to evidence for this and received the reply:

It’s right on the new packaging and that has to be approved by the Canadian Govt before it can even be shipped into Canada.

Googling produced only the company claim, nothing from Health Canada.

In April, the following comment was posted:

I emailed Health Canada regarding the validity of Xocai chocolate being a “natural health product” — The response I got was that : IT HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED!

I contacted the poster and requested a copy of the email from Health Canada. She informed me that she had sent the following to Health Canada:

I have been told that Xocai chocolate has been approved as a “Health Food” approved by Health Canada. On [this] web page it also states that this is true. Can you tell me whether this is fact or fiction or part truth and part fiction?
Thanking you in advance

Which received the following reply:-

Sorry for the delay in responding. At this time, an application for Xocai chocolate has been submitted to Health Canada but it has not received a natural product number.
Regards,
Nutrition Evaluation Division

Clarification was sought:-

Thank you for your reply.
Does this mean that the Xocai application has been approved as a “natural health food” (and therefore can advertise it as such)and it is just waiting for a “natural product number” or is the application still waiting for approval and once approved will receive a “natural product number”?
Thank you,

And received:-

Sorry for the delay in responding. Xocai has not been approved by Health Canada.
Regards,
Nutrition Evaluation Division

Intrigued by this, I decided to contact Health Canada myself:-

Subject: Xocai chocolate, MXI Corp Health Canada Approval

Date: 21/04/2009
To: nutr-eval@hc-sc.gc.ca

Dear Sirs/Mesdames

I am a UK based science blogger and recently covered the health claims made for xocai chocolate at http://jaycueaitch.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/xocai-acai-rubbish/ .
The reason I am contacting your organisation is that in the comments following the above post one commenter claimed that chocolate manufactured by MXI Corp had been approved as a health food by Health Canada.
I would be grateful if you could let me know whether or not such approval has been granted, or even applied for.
Yours sincerely

John Hawcock

And received the following reply:-

Good morning Mr. Hawcock,

The NHPD is the regulating authority for natural health products (NHPs) for sale in Canada. Our role is to ensure that Canadians have ready access to NHPs that are safe, effective and of high quality, through the issuance of product and site licences.

Please note that as of January 1, 2004 , all NHPs must comply with the Natural Health Products Regulations. Any product approved by Health Canada would have one of the following three numbers on its label:

DIN – Drug Identification Number
NPN – Natural Product Number
DIN-HM – for homeopathic medicine

If a product bears one of these numbers, it has been assessed for its quality, safety and efficacy by Health Canada. The pre-market review provides assurance that what is on the label is what is in the bottle, and that health claims are supported by appropriate levels of evidence. Approved NHP labels must specify the product’s recommended use or purpose (health claim), dosage information, medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients and any cautions associated with the product.The absence of one of these numbers on the label of the product means that Health Canada cannot provide such an assurance.

A list of licensed NHPs is available at:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/applications/licen-prod/lists/listapprnhp-listeapprpsn_e.html

Please note that there are no Xocai chocolate products on our list of approved/licensed products at this moment.

So if indeed the Xocai packaging contains claims of Health Canada approval (I have yet to see any so cannot confirm that this is the case) it is what is technically known as a fib. IANAL but I would think that such a claim would be a breach of Canadian law. In the UK, packaging making inaccurate claims of approval by Health Canada (or anybody else) would be in breach of the Advertising Standards requirement for truthfulness.

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11 Responses to “Approved By Health Canada – Not”

  1. Warhelmet Says:

    I was reading the CAP codes today and IIRC isn’t there something in them about nutritional supplements and the fact that you can’t use approval by regulatory bodies as an endorsement? We need to see a Xocai choccy.

  2. Warhelmet Says:

    I made the mistake of googling Xocai. urgh. MHRA time I think for some of the distributors.

  3. jaycueaitch Says:

    Haven’t seen a Xocai choccy yet. If one turns up and the packaging contains the claims made by the trolls, then it will be time to point the ASA and MHRA at them.

  4. teddy Says:

    it dosn’t say approved by health canada on the box yet my god

  5. A Second Year of Steam « Letting Off Steam Says:

    [...] that this product had been approved by Health Canada. Another commenter called him on this. I checked for myself and discovered that the claim of approval is a [...]

  6. Richard Says:

    It is great to have all these blog sites. Everyone has a reason to make a statement. I too have a reason to post here. We all want the government to save us yet let’s just take a moment to look at the health check for a box of cereal( cheerios) has the health check from the heart and stroke foundation. Most people beleive it’s a seal of appoval. Yet the company pays a fee for the right to place this on their pack as they say in the fin print. Yet how can this product be healthy for you when there is Trisodium Phosphate which I use as a cleaning product.
    MXI has asked the governing bodies throught a system of applications that their products meet the govenments requirments. As with all governments this is a long process. The package lableing has been appoved and they are awaiting the numbers. Again long process. As for the claims it seems that you are not truthful. It doesn’t say health Canada aproved. The packaging has been aproved so far as the written langage on the box is what the science currently is and has showen throught different studies.
    The big corporations have all the power to squeeze what they want from our governments and they use someone as yourself to keep us all fearful of the fib. So free yourself and truly look behind the smoke that is placed in front of us. And yes I am part of this as a distributor myself and my family and a great many have seen a change in our health. And in our pocket book in the fact that for the first time by helpping others my family sees benifits. This is so unlike the fire departmnt I work at. There, it’s all about we need more so give us more
    The world is changing i beleive for the better those that are willing to take this change on will be the ones to benifit in so many ways.
    To end this there is so much disinformation as the corpurations need us to be confused so they can make profit for their shareholders not for the workers.
    Be well and make informed decisions
    richard
    chocolatebythelake.com

    • jaycueaitch Says:

      Yet another marketting troll.

      It is not me saying that the packaging claims approval by Health Canada, it is one of your fellow trolls.

      • Kathy Says:

        I am a Canadian and I have been following this process for many years. Quite a number of years ago Canada changed they way they regulate the health food industry. This change required all products to apply for the new NHP# (Natural Health Product Number). There are 10′s of thousands of products in the system at any one time. According to a non-Xocai source its a nightmare, products get declined that should be approved and then when they reapply they are approved and its taking years and years and years for anything to get done. There is at least one online petition about this situation as the manufacturers and consumers in Canada grow more and more frustrated. Any product in the ‘system’ that is not yet approved will not be discussed over the phone by Health Canada. However, Xocai is closely monitored by the Canadian Gov’t. The claims on our Canadian boxes are apparently written by Health Canada although I can not confirm that with any evidence except to say that if they were not the company would have been kicked out of Canada within days of the first boxes arriving. As an example, several years ago the Xocai product called Activ was available through the Canadian warehouse. The gov’t disallowed it because the name of the product was perceived to imply some sort of Health Benefit.

  7. Richard Lewis Says:

    “Yet another marketting troll.

    It is not me saying that the packaging claims approval by Health Canada, it is one of your fellow trolls.”

    What makes a troll. I guess you can say something yet you become offesive with your statment. You seem to be a person that would like a life where someone looks after you from craddle to the grave. I do take offense to your statment of troll. Is it not an open format. on this once you put it out into the world of the web. Or do you have a reason to or are paid to just beat up on any and all things. I am very proud to say I market a product that has helped myself rid my body of acid reflux. I gave the medical professenals over 25 years to fix yet they just kept me trying different drugs. It has been 34 months no acid reflux lost 15 lbs and have helped many others with their own health issues. I guess a troll has it’s purpose. All the best. They said man would never fly. I beleive two people proved that wrong. Be well
    http://www.mxicorp.com/xproteinmeal/
    http://www.chocolatebythehealth.com

  8. kay Says:

    Ouch!!!

  9. Xocai, Norwegian Bloggers and the Streisand Effect « Letting Off Steam Says:

    [...] shill claim that the product had been approved by Health Canada – a simple exchange of emails exposed that lie. There is also the creepy behaviour of Adam Paul Green as previously outlined. The whole xocai [...]

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