Revealed: 2018's most read supplements and nutrition regulation stories from APAC

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Revealed: 2018's most read supplements and nutrition regulation stories from APAC

Related tags: CBEC, Ingredients, Pollution, Infant formula, GST, FOSHU

Out top 10 most read stories on regulation in the food and supplement industry feature China and India heavily, with cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) and infant formula rules in China a constant topic of interest, alongside stricter laws surrounding ingredients in functional food and supplements in India.

New China infant formula rules finally introduced, global firms seeking much-needed stability

China's new infant formula laws have finally come into force​, 18 months after the proposals were unveiled, sparking regulatory uncertainty, market volatility and a frantic dash to meet the more stringent regulatory requirements.

In June 2016 the country's Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) released the long-awaited Regulations on the Administration for Infant Formula. It stated that every firm — both national and global — would be limited to three brands (one for each of three age ranges) and nine formulations.

More than 400 products have been approved, with around 60 from international companies. Officials say unapproved formulas on the shelves can be sold until their expiry dates, to minimise the risk of product shortages in the coming weeks.

'Complete regulatory system': Chinese officials confirm shake-up of cross-border e-commerce rules

The Chinese authorities have approved new e-commerce rules, with lawmakers now calling for a 'complete regulatory system'​ to also cover cross-border transactions.

The new e-commerce laws will come into effect on January 1, 2019. The rules were adopted after a fourth reading at the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress that ended last Friday.

The new law requires e-commerce sites to abide by import and export administrative rules — a rule which drafting committee members repeatedly pushed for during the five-day meeting.

India's new functional food and supplements rules: The key requirements every firm needs to know

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued its long-awaited rules for functional foods and supplements​ — publishing a 79-page set of criteria on its website.

The rules cover health supplements, nutraceuticals, food for special dietary uses, food for special medical purposes, functional foods and novel foods.

You can read here​ how the laws have been warmly welcomed by industry, which believes the rules offer much needed clarity and fill a long-standing regulatory vacuum.

Is the time nigh? Firms warned of looming changes to China's cross-border e-commerce trade rules

China looks set to implement new cross border e-commerce (CBEC) rules​ on January 1 next year, according to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). This is likely to lead to additional regulation and taxes for supplement and functional food firms.

Tmall Global and JD Worldwide are some of the most popular CBEC platforms. 

According to NZTE, the CBEC sales of vitamins, supplements, infant formula, skincare and cosmetics would be the first few products to be affected by new rules.

Indian supplement industry 'surprised' by regulator's restrictive ingredients notice: IDMA expert

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a notification detailing its updated directions for a list of ingredients it deems unsuitable for further use in health foods and supplements.

According to an industry source, this notification (issued on June 29) came as a surprise​, and may cause "unnecessary concern"​ among consumers.

Sandeep Gupta, vice chairman of the Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association's (IDMA) nutraceutical subcommittee, told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "Today, there is a lot of transparency and consultation between the FSSAI and the industry. We both place consumers as the top priority before arriving at any decision — we even have a meeting every month."

Australian regulator overseeing 'controlled withdrawal' of supplement containing excessive lead

Australian supplement regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is working to gradually withdraw a prescription potassium chloride supplement​ that has been found to contain lead in amounts exceeding the legal limit for human consumption.

The supplement, developed in slow-release tablet form by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis and sold as Slow-K or Duro-K, is said to be particularly harmful when taken by pregnant women, as it puts their unborn babies at risk.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia​, a Novartis spokesman (who declined to be named) said: "We recently evaluated Slow-K / Duro-K by Novartis and found that selected batches contained levels of lead higher than the maximum specified by the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH), a new standard the TGA adopted on 1 December 2017."

Higher GST for supplements in India will 'hit consumer health and market expansion'

Officials behind India's new goods and services tax (GST) have been accused of a major oversight for failing to set a dedicated rate for supplements, which means they are now subject to more tax​ than the industry had anticipated.

Before 1 July, there were concerns​ that food supplements and nutraceuticals would become significantly more expensive due to the impending new GST structure, which includes a maximum GST rate of 28%.

As it stands, nutraceuticals, as well as health and fitness supplements, are now subject to 18% GST (the second highest tax rate), an increase from the previous 12% tax rate. Meanwhile, the tax on pharmaceutical products has risen from 5% to 12%. In the top tier of the new GST structure are coffee and protein concentrates — among others — which are now taxed at 28%.

China's pollution clampdown triples vitamin C prices within one year

Chinese authorities have enforced stricter laws​ to reduce air pollution in the country, a development that has inflated vitamin C prices by up to 300% within a year.

An estimated 95% of the world’s vitamin C is produced in China (according to vitamin distributors), and Chicago-based ingredient distributor Prinova's Europe VP Steve Watts said vitamin C prices had risen from $3.50/kg in October last year to between $11/kg and $12/kg now.

BBCA Group's China VP of sales and marketing, Highway He, said environmental pollution had hit China's total vitamin C production volume hard, resulting in a 30% decrease.

Japan moves beyond FOSHU: Over 400 products approved under new health claims regime in last year

More than 400 foods have been approved​ under Japan's 2015 Foods with Function Claims (FFC) regulation, with the market already estimated to be worth US$70bn.

The FFC rules came into force last year as an additional regulation alongside the country's more stringent Food For Specified Health Uses (FOSHU) system.

But while the latter restricts claims to 14 health benefits and requires clinical trials, the new system permits systematic literary reviews as suitable evidence and allows any health benefit to be claimed.

China cross-border e-commerce access: 'Too early to say what will happen in 2019' — trade expert

Exporters to China have been told to 'watch this space'​ over cross-border e-commerce rules, which provide the easiest access to the nation's soaring supplement market, but are due to end this year.

The current regulations had been due to expire at the end of last year, before officials extended the transition period to the end of 2018.

This means products imported through cross-border e-commerce continue to be regarded as personal trade, rather than for commercial distribution, allowing overseas firms to bypass complex local registration requirements.

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