New China infant formula rules: Five international firms in first batch of approvals

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

The Chinese regulator has announced the first companies to receive approvals under new infant formula laws.
The Chinese regulator has announced the first companies to receive approvals under new infant formula laws.

Related tags Infant formula Milk

China’s Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has announced the first wave of infant nutrition companies and products that have passed its new registration programme, and are now free to trade in the country from January 1, 2018.

The CFDA now requires manufacturers of infant formula to register brands and recipes with them in advance.

The first announement shows that 22 companies have had a total of 89 products approved. Five of those are from international companies; Wyeth (six products), MeadJohnson (nine products), Friesland Campina (three products), Nestle (two products) and Abbott (six products).

Meanwhile, Australia’s A2 Milk Company and its partner Synlait said they were hopeful their application, submitted in May, would also be approved.

“Synlait and a2MC understand these initial approvals reflect some of the first dossier applications received by the CFDA from other manufacturers in early 2017. The dossier application for CFDA registration of a2 Platinum infant formula was submitted by Synlait in May 2017, and has been accepted for review,”​ said the companies.

Nine product limit

According to regulations expert Rong Liu, from Yantai Foodmate Information Technology, each infant formula enterprise can apply fr a maximum of nine products.

“All formulas passing the formula registration shall be indicated with the registration number in the label and instruction from January 1, 2018,”​ she said.

She added the domestic companies that had products approved were Beingmate (12 products), Feihe (nine products), Yashili (15 products), Junlebao (three products), Mengniu (six products), Yili (six products), Biostime (3 products), Red Star (six products) and CHG (three products).

The new system has created some uncertainty in the market. The CFDA’s wish to reduce the number of brands on the market led to many local players – most of which had multiple brands – to heavily discount in order to shed stock before the new rules come into force.

The knock-on effect of this was that sales from some of the international firms slumped.

Analysts believe in the long run, however, international outfits will benefit from the new rules.

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