William Yan, Ph

2014 Canadian Nutrition Society Annual Meeting
St. John’s Newfoundland
Saturday June 7, 2014
Dr. William Yan, PhD
Health Canada Modernization in the Area of Food Safety
and Nutrition
Director, Bureau of Nutritional Sciences, Health Canada
Health Canada has committed to modernizing its regulatory framework for foods as part of the Health
Products and Food Branch Roadmap for Regulatory Modernization. Health Canada has already
begun the process of modernization, receiving new authorities under the Food and Drugs Act for
marketing authorization and incorporation by reference that have been used to modernize the food
additive framework. Other modernization initiatives underway include food fortification, and a policy
review of our framework for health claims.
In Canada, there are different types of health claims that can be included on the labels of foods.
Health Canada has provided guidance on the use of these health claims and has modernized its
approach to manage foods carrying disease risk reduction and therapeutic claims. In 2012, the
transition of food products from the Natural Health Products Regulatory (NHPD) Framework to the
Food Regulatory Framework was completed. Since then, Health Canada has continued to review
submissions for new products and develop related policies and guidance. For example, the Food
Directorate has developed a proposed definition for “supplemented foods”. As well, maximum levels of
addition of vitamins, minerals and amino acids have been proposed for these products currently
managed under Temporary Marketing Authorizations (TMAs). The information and data collected
during the TMA period will help shape the final regulatory framework for these food products. In
today’s presentation, the Food Directorate’s modernization efforts in these areas will be highlighted.
Dr. William Yan obtained his Master degree in Microbiology and Ph.D. degree in Medical Microbiology and
Infectious Diseases from the University of Alberta. He completed his post-doctoral training at Tufts University
Medical School, Boston, MA before beginning his career in Health Canada as a Research Scientist in 1995. He
was Head of the Office of Biotechnology, Food Directorate, from 1999-2002, Chief of the Evaluation Division,
Bureau of Microbial Hazards, from 2002-2008 and Director of the Health Effects Division of the Pest
Management Regulatory Agency from 2008-2009. He was head of Canadian delegations for Codex Ad Hoc
Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnologies as well as the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development Task Force for the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds. In June 2010, Dr. Yan
was appointed as Director of the Bureau of Nutritional Sciences in the Food Directorate. Since then, he has
provided leadership in the Bureau’s work on developing nutritional standards and regulations as well as premarket assessment of novel foods, novel fibres, health claims and infant formulas. Recently, Dr. Yan led the
transition of food-like natural health products to the food regulatory framework. He is currently leading the Food
Directorate’s work on improving how nutritional information is provided on food labels in Canada.