ASSAULT ON HEALTHY FOOD Dr Guy Hatchard, who is preparing a legal challenge to the Bill, says it will cause confusion in the healthy food market place and lead to litigation. Since the Bill precludes any health claim being made for a food, and the NHP Bill by definition will be regulating any product/food claiming to be healthy, the effect will be to ensure that any healthy food/product will be regulated while any unhealthy food can continue to be sold free of regulation, he says. “Why will tobacco, sugar, suspect food additives, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and highly processed non-nutritious foods all escape the Natural Health Products Bill, while healthy remedies and common foods such as aloe vera, cardamon, betel nut, neem, mustard, tea, coconut, almond, castor oil, tamarind, valerian and grape will all be regulated and effectively taxed by an army of civil servants at the Ministry of Health?” Hatchard says. “The annual budget at the Therapeutic Goods Authority in Australia, which has a similar role to the Authority proposed under the NHP Bill, is $170 million which is paid through levies on the industry that also has to pay additional costs well in excess of this to meet the regulations. “All this cost will be ultimately borne by the New Zealand consumer and will push up the 18 OCTOBER 2016 cost of healthy foods and products while leaving the cost of unhealthy food unaffected. How ill-advised is that?” Hatchard says the Government is planning to tax and restrict healthy food and products which will encourage consumption of unhealthy foods. All this "vast regulatory over-reach" is being introduced for no reason that the government has been able to substantiate, he says. “There is vague talk of protecting the public from risk, but no evidence of risk from healthy foods has been presented by the government. “It seems that the NHP Bill could be a perverse and misguided attempt by medical professionals, health bureaucrats, and pharmaceutical advocates to protect their financial interests by stifling alternative approaches to health care which would benefit everyone. “There are sound scientific reasons to oppose this absurd, out-dated and unfair Bill.” AN EXTRAORDINARY A new bill covering part of the healthy food marketplace will cause confusion because of ambiguities between it and the Food Act, the Medicines Act and Dietary Supplements Regulations, a leading campaigner against the Natural Health Products Bill warns.
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