Herbal manufacturer Wild Vineyard is fighting to show that its products are not contaminated by heavy metals as contended by Health Canada.
The Selkirk plant was shut down by Health Canada last year for operating without a site licence.
Also Health Canada ordered the business to recall all of its products from across the country after it found some of the products Wild Vineyard was distributing were contaminated with substances such as lead. The firm was also charged with "inappropriate labelling."
Symptoms of exposure to heavy metals can include nausea; abdominal pain; vomiting; muscle cramps; diarrhea; heart abnormalities; anemia; and bone, liver, kidney and nervous system problems.
But Terry Bell, owner of Wild Vineyard and Health Trek in Selkirk, has since sent his products to a private lab and says results show the levels of inorganic arsenic in his products are below the minimum acceptable standards.
"There's nothing wrong with them," he said recently, offering a copy of private lab test results to Sun Media group.
The results, from Labs-Mart Inc. in Edmonton, lists seven products as having less than one part per million of "inorganic arsenic." Bell said the products were the same ones Health Canada was claiming might be harmful.
Wild Vineyard distributes several product lines, including Will's Rain Forest, Heavenly Orchard, Organic Haven, Herbal Valley and other brands. The products it sells range from aloe vera juice to emu oil gel capsules.
Bell said he hadn't seen evidence from Health Canada proving his products were in any way harmful.
Health Canada said it provided data to the company "showing positive testing results for heavy metal contamination."
But Bell maintained, "They haven't."
He also said his quest for a site licence was almost complete, and that once it was obtained he could begin manufacturing the herbs and supplements again.