Former Health CANADA chief goes public after safely retiring
Itís not food safety, but itís such an old and disappointing story that itís worth repeating.
This time itís the former head of Health Canada's nutritional sciences bureau blasting the federal department Monday for failing to explain why it is approving health claims submitted by the food industry.
PepsiCo Canada had announced Monday that Health Canada has approved a new disease-reduction health claim for products containing oats. This means the company's 11 Quaker oats products will soon carry labels on the front of their packaging trumpeting a relationship between oat fibres and reduced cholesterol.
Mary L'Abbe, the former director of Health Canada's nutritional sciences bureau responsible for the approval of health claims, said the department now has a transparency problem because it is not releasing the evidence to support such claims.
Health Canada remains mum on the oats decision and has yet to publish evidence to support the plant sterol claim.
"With regards to transparency, I am still disappointed that the plant sterol claim was approved last May, yet the evidence to support such a claim has still not been posted ó only a summary document," said L'Abbe, who left Health Canada in 2007 after 31 years.
"Health Canada's lack of transparency in this matter is disappointing, and opposite that of the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), which has published detailed scientific reviews of the evidence that was considered in approving or denying health claims in the U.S." L'Abbe said. "Hopefully they are planning to post the evidence that supports the oats claim."
Why didnít L'Abbe say anything about this when she was in government? I know thereís the whole oath to the Queen thing required of Canadian bureacrats, but government is not some abstract entity, itís run by people who chose to make decisions.