Language selection


Animal Products/By-Products to be used as Medicinal or Natural Health Products

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository

March 17, 2004

Commodity characteristics

Examples of animal products used in humans for medicinal purposes:


Regulated under section 41 and 41.1 of the Health of Animals Regulations

"Designated countries or regions": countries or regions which have been recognized by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) free of the diseases of concern.

For the purpose of this directive, the diseases of concern for each species from which the product is derived are as follows:

For products of ruminant (bovine, ovine, caprine, cervids) origin, the designated country must be free of foot-and mouth disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) (reference Canadian BSE Import Policies document);

If product of porcine origin, the designated country must be free of foot-and-mouth disease, swine vesicular disease, African swine fever, classical swine fever (hog cholera);

If product of avian origin, the designated country must be free from Velogenic Newcastle disease;

Animal products from U.S.A.: Proof of origin acceptable to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

From designated countries: original certificate signed by an official veterinarian of the government of the country of origin.

Ruminant animal products from countries not recognized free of BSE by the CFIA are prohibited as per Canadian BSE Import Policies document.

From non-designated countries: original certificate signed by an official veterinarian of the government of the country of origin attesting an acceptable processing treatment as approved by Headquarters (HQ) or import permit pursuant to Section 52. (2) of the Health of Animals Regulations

This is a case by case evaluation. An animal health import permit will be granted after the successful completion of a risk assessment.

Exemption from the application of this policy will apply to the following commodities destined for human use:

  1. Commercially prepared, sterile, shelf stable ox gall (bile) and essence of chicken
  2. Highly processed commercially prepared and packaged products (meaning capsules, tablets, vials for injections, liquids, ointments) containing animal material where no pieces of animal tissue can be visibly identified
  3. Personal importation of 1 kg or less of the following dried commodities: powdered or sliced deer horn and deer velvet

Commercial shipments of meat and meat products, as defined in the Meat Inspection Act and Regulations, for example, pork or deer tendons and chicken feet must also meet the Meat Program Division's requirements in order to be allowed into Canada. Exemptions from application of the Meat Inspection Act and Regulations are defined in section 3 (1) of the Meat Inspection Regulations, for example, in case of personal importation or non commercial importation of a meat product weighting 20 kg or less reference section 3 (1) (a).

Please note that these items may not be sold or used for medicinal, natural health or pharmaceutical purposes in Canada unless they meet Health Canada's requirements for efficacy and safety. All preparations with labels making therapeutic claims e.g., "for the treatment of..." should be referred to:

Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate
Health Products and Food Branch
Health Canada
Vanguard Building, Floor 9
171 Slater Street
Mail Stop 3709B
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0L3
Telephone: 613-941-3073
Facsimile: 613-946-1615

The website for the Office of Natural and Non-prescription Health Products
Telephone: 613-952-2558
Facsimile: 613-946-1615

In the case of medicinal products which may be derived from potentially endangered species all preparations should be referred to:

The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
c/o The Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-997-1840 or 1-800-668-6767
Facsimile: 819-953-6283

Plant products, fish products, tortoise shell products are not regulated by the Terrestrial Animal Health Division of the CFIA.


For Bird's nest, bird's nest soup, mooncakes, preserved 100 years old eggs and salted duck eggs please refer to the import directive on egg products AHPD-DSAE-IE-2001-5 (AH-96-EGG-OVO-02).

This general import directive supersedes all specific or general directives related to medicinal products of animal origin including import directive no 91-09-AP-38.

This directive relates to Animal Health import requirements and does not remove any obligation to the Canadian importer to comply with the import requirements of other Canadian Food Inspection Agency programs and/or other governmental departments.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: