'Miracle' tonic event in Calgary prompts probe by Health Canada
Genesis II Church promotes healing powers of a product described by agency as industrial bleach
Health Canada says it has opened a case to see whether a U.S.-based "church" group violated the Food and Drugs Act in the sale, distribution or marketing of MMS, a so-called miracle mineral solution, during a recent meeting in Calgary.
The Genesis II Church of Health and Healing met at a downtown Calgary hotel in March but organizers declined to speak to CBC News about the meeting or whether MMS was being sold or given to delegates who paid $350 US to attend the two-day session last month.
The online agenda for the meeting said doses of MMS might be handed out.
"We just might surprise everyone every so often with a dose of MMS1. Be ready!" read the itinerary.
Mark Grenon, a self-described archbishop with the church, spoke at the Calgary meeting in front of a dozen people.
His son, Jonathan, who described himself as a bishop with the church, refused to answer questions related to the session and whether MMS was being offered for sale.
"We don't sell anything," said Jonathan Grenon.
An edited version of the exchange between CBC News and Grenon was posted on the Genesis II YouTube channel last month.
"We're going to continue with our service right now, we're going to stop this because this is not an interview," Jonathan Grenon told the CBC on March 17.
A message from Grenon posted to the church's website claimed a "package of sacraments" would be included for seminar participants, including "MMS, Activator, MMS2, DMSO, spray bottle, capsules, etc."
Health Canada has been warning Canadians about the dangers of MMS for years.
The federal agency says the product sold as Miracle Mineral Solution may pose serious health risks because it contains sodium chlorite, a bleach-like chemical. MMS is being promoted as a treatment for a range of health ailments, including cancer.
Since the March 17, 2018 meeting, Health Canada said it has opened a case "to verify compliance [of the Food and Drugs Act] and will take action to address any confirmed non-compliance."
"MMS is a drug that has not been approved for sale by Health Canada. Therefore, it is illegal to advertise, sell or distribute this product in Canada, whether or not payment is provided for the product," said Health Canada in an email to CBC News.
In an email to CBC News, Grenon said: "Well, Health Canada can act like they are going to do something. But they will do nothing!!!"
"As a Church, we are totally separate and do not have to give account to any so called 'health agency,'" he added.
"So for you to make this statement of "health Canada" or whatever so called "health agency," it means nothing but dung to us," said Grenon.
Health Canada charged Stanley Nowak of Riondel, B.C., and Sara Nowak of Okotoks, Alta., last fall under the Food and Drugs Act with 29 counts related to the sale, packaging and advertising of sodium chlorite, one of the ingredients of MMS.
A trial has been scheduled for October in British Columbia.
None of the allegations against the Nowaks has been proven in court.
Health Canada says MMS is sometimes promoted under different names, including Miracle Mineral Supplement, Master Mineral Solution, or its ingredient, sodium chlorite.
The Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, which describes itself as a non-religious church, touts diluted sodium chlorite as a cure-all for a range of conditions and diseases including AIDS, autism, cancer, lyme disease, malaria and herpes.
The Genesis II Church was founded by an American named Jim Humble, who claims he is a billion-year-old god from the Andromeda galaxy.
Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.