Yes, Please Regulate My Asian Bear Bile

Now I haven’t read Bill C-51, but I was invited to the Facebook group to stop it. I read briefly through the description and my bullshit sense went off. First off “Canadian Bill C-51…proposes many changes to the Food and Drug[s] Act.” Fair enough. These are the guys that make sure that the products we buy have the ingredients and nutrition facts listed, expiry date, who made the food and where and when. I have no doubt that parts of the Act are outdated. The protestors maintain that “Among the changes proposed by the bill are radical alterations to key terminology, including replacing the word “drug” with “therapeutic product” throughout the Act, thereby giving the Canadian government broad-reaching powers to regulate the sale of all herbs, vitamins, supplements and other items.”

As well they should. The act is there to keep health risks off the market. All those things can poison you if they’re not properly regulated. If there is a real difference between the word “drug” and “therapeutic product” I’d like to know what it is. The protestor lingo continues:

“With this single language change, anything that is “therapeutic” automatically falls under the Food and Drug Act. There are no guarantees that this won’t include bottled water, blueberries, dandelion greens and essentially all plant-derived substances.”

That seems pretty spurious. Even so, if someone wants to sell me blueberries or bottled water in this day and age, I wouldn’t mind knowing how much radiation and pig hormones they’ve pumped into it before I put it in my mouth. At least then I can decide if it’s delicious enough to take the presumed health risk.

“The Act also changes the definition of the word “sell” to include anyone who gives such therapeutic products to someone else. In theory, a mother giving an herb to her child, under the proposed new language, could be in violation of the new law, and be arrested for engaging in the sale of unregulated, unapproved “therapeutic substances.”

From the bill:

The definitions …“sell” … are replaced by the following: “sell” includes offer for sale, expose for sale or have in possession for sale — or distribute to one or more persons, whether or not the distribution is made for consideration — and, in relation to a device, includes lease, offer for lease, expose for lease or have in possession for lease;”

That’s a lot of lawyer garble to me but no mother is going to be arrested for breastfeeding her baby. I mean come on – get real, people.

As far as I’m concerned there’s not enough regulation for “alternative” and “herbal remedies.” The reason that substances are broken down and put into pills is because no two chunks of willow bark are going to have the exact same concentration of the active ingredient that will reduce your fever and pain. That’s why the salicylic acid gets carefully measured and put into perfectly proportioned doses of aspirin, so that you know exactly what you’re in for with each pill, and can take what you know you need. The pharmacological industry is not by any means perfect but at least it is based on a systematic and measurable practice which I like to call science.

So, in summary, I did not join the Facebook group and clarification of the “sell” definition is requested, oh government of mine.

Here’s the bill (click)

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