Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has become known for recommending expensive and often controversial products through her lifestyle website Goop. It looks like her chain of stores of the same name are no different.
The first Canadian Goop lifestyle and wellness business opened this Friday in Toronto, Ontario. However, federal health inspectors have already required the store to pull two Beatycounter sunscreen products from its inventory. Beautycounter describes the sunscreens as being made with “natural ingredients” and no “questionable chemicals.” Even though Goop has already spoken publicly about the situation, saying the issue was with the packaging, not the ingredients, it appears to go deeper than that.
In a statement made to CBC News, Health Canada revealed the products in question had not been approved for sale in Canada. Canadian regulations require all-natural health products to undergo extensive testing to ensure the ingredients listed are accurate and not harmful, after which the products will be marked with a Natural Health Number on their label to ensure their authenticity.
But while these products are longer allowed to be sold in stores, what is worrisome is that they are still available online (and being sold on Goop’s website). This is because, while rules for selling all-natural health products in-person are strict, the regulations about what can be sold online are much more lenient. CBC News noted they were able to successfully buy both of the items on Goop.com that federal investigators had removed from the store.
Dr. Jen Gunter, a Winnipeg-born, U.S.-based obstetrician-gynecologist, who has long been critical of Goop’s product recommendations, spoke to the publication about the dangers of using unregulated natural health products. "Maybe they contain an antidepressant or they contain something that could interact with a medication that you're on, and you could have a drug reaction," Dr. Gunter explained, adding many of these products aren’t completely truthful about their ingredients. "Some of these things also could interfere with your medication, and maybe you're on a drug for epilepsy, and maybe it's gonna make that less effective. Maybe you could have a seizure."
Dr. Gunter added that Health Canada needs to hold online stores to the same standards it does physical stores, particularly regarding the distribution of so-called natural products. "I think Health Canada should be stepping up. If protecting Canadians matters, then it should matter for all the potential sources that people could be exposed to these products,” she argued.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop has received immense backlash, particularly from the medical community, ever since it was announced she would be bringing the brand to Canada last August. Various experts have alleged the brand uses a “buttoned-up approach to health checking” and utilized “scientifically dubious” information. Given that Goop’s first Canadian store is off to such a rough start, it’s unclear if Gwyneth’s brand has much of a future in the Northern nation.