Regulatory Review: APAC infant formula trouble, new NZ and India supplement laws, and China MLM controversy in the news

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Regulatory Review: APAC infant formula trouble, new NZ and India supplement laws, and China MLM controversy in the news

Related tags Regulation Infant formula Nutraceutical MLM Natural health products

From revamped regulations in New Zealand and India to controversy surrounding infant formula brands in APAC and a supplement firm in China, this month's regulatory review covers the latest news on ingredient, advertising and manufacturing laws in APAC's nutraceutical and supplement sector.

New year, new hope? Natural products bill could follow NZ's revamped therapeutic products legislation

The announcement of New Zealand's new Therapeutics Products Bill has brought with it hopes that new legislation may finally follow​ for natural products, with officials noting they are 'considering options' for separate regulations.

37-year-old laws surrounding therapeutic products may finally be catching up with the times, in light of a recent announcement from the country's Minister of Health, David Clark.

On December 14, Minister of Health David Clark announced that consultation was now open for the first stage of a new regulatory scheme for therapeutic products.

Misleading mothers? New report alleges dubious marketing practices by formula firms in APAC

The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) Asia has levelled serious accusations against infant nutrition firms​ in 11 APAC countries, claiming unethical marketing practices are rampant in the region.

In a media brief entitled Exposing the Market Offenders​Unethical Marketing Practices of Baby Food Companies that Harm Babies' Health​, the industry watchdog states: "37 years after the adoption of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, baby food companies continue to pay lip service and claim to be staunch breastfeeding supporters.

"But their actions prove otherwise, as violations of the Code still happen frequently to undermine breastfeeding."

Chinese supplement firm Quanjian's founder faces criminal detention with 17 others amid false advertisements allegations

Eighteen employees at Chinese supplement firm Quanjian, including founder Shu Yu Hui, are under criminal detention​ amid alleged involvement in fake advertising for its multi-level marketing (MLM) activities.

Besides Shu, a doctor surnamed Zhu was also amongst those detained, Tianjin police said on January 7. 

"(On) January 1 2019, police from the Tianjin city has conducted investigations on Quanjian Natural Medicine Science & Technology Development for its suspected involvement in organising (and) heading MLM activities and (putting up) fake advertisements," ​Tianjin police said using their official Weibo​ account.

India's FSSAI issues year-end direction to discontinue slew of nutraceutical ingredients

Indian regulator FSSAI has issued a clarification​ regarding its stance on the 14 ingredients listed in Appendix 1 of its Food Safety and Standards Regulations (Nutraceutical Regulations) 2016.

In a document dated December 31 2018, the regulator elaborated on which ingredients were permitted for continued use and which ingredients were to be discontinued.

The regulations — which cover health supplements, nutraceuticals, food for special dietary uses, food for special medical purposes (FSMP), and functional and novel foods — have been updated several times in recent months, according to directions issued in June and August last year.

Three need-to-know regulatory issues set to shape APAC's supplement and health food industry in 2019

From manufacturing restrictions to infant nutrition and cross-border e-commerce rules, we bring you three regulations and policies​ that will influence the APAC nutraceutical industry in 2019.

1. Indian manufacturing restrictions

Restrictions on ingredients and manufacturing in India will be at the forefront of regulatory issues in the country's nutraceutical and supplement industry, according to Sandeep Gupta, vice chairman of the Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association's (IDMA) nutraceutical committee and director of the Expert Nutraceutical Advocacy Council (ENAC).

A clause within the country's Food Safety and Standards (FSSA) Act — added based on an objection raised by the country's drug regulatory body, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) —  prohibits the manufacturing of multi-vitamin and mineral combinations in India.

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