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.
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”?
Sorry for the delay in responding. Xocai has not been approved by Health Canada.
Nutrition Evaluation Division
Intrigued by this, I decided to contact Health Canada myself:-
Subject: Xocai chocolate, MXI Corp Health Canada Approval
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.
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:
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.