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Regulatory Review: Reassessment of supplement and health food rules in the spotlight in China and Australia

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Regulatory Review: Reassessment of supplement and health food rules in the spotlight in China and Australia

Related tags Regulation China Australia India

Read about latest the regulatory developments in China, Blackmores' acerbic response to the MBA's "attack" on complementary medicine, and the mystery of India's missing fortified flour in our regulatory review.

'Draconian and prejudiced': Proposal to tighten complementary medicine laws draws Blackmores' ire

The Medical Board of Australia's (MBA) proposal to reassess the regulation of complementary medicines and practitioners who prescribe them has elicited a strongly worded response​ from Marcus Blackmore.

The Blackmores boss wrote an open letter​ addressing industry stakeholders, in which he referred to the proposed new regulation as "draconian"​, "simply unnecessary" ​and "nothing more than an attack"​ on complementary medicine.

He told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "I think this is borne of plain old prejudice and ignorance that our industry has suffered for years and years."

Daigou and direct-selling clampdown in China 'growing pains', but market will still thrive: HPA

The recent slew of crackdowns, regulatory reviews and stricter rules for China's health food and supplement industry are 'growing pains'​ the industry must overcome, as regulators double down on efforts to promote safety and collect taxes.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia​, Jeff Crowther, executive director of trade body Health Products Association – China (HPA-China), said the State Administration for Market Regulation’s (SAMR) quick succession of regulatory changes in relation to daigou traders and direct-selling firms were spurred by a need for greater consumer protection and a higher degree of corporate accountability.

"You're basically dealing with a government that wants to make sure it has some oversight in consumer protection, but also wants to make sure it gets its taxes. You can boil everything down to two things: safety and taxes."

Probiotics regulations under review in China as regulator SAMR 'plays catch-up'

China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) is calling for public feedback​ regarding regulations for health food products containing probiotics.

The SAMR recently issued a draft entitled Provisions for Declaration and Review of Probiotic Health Food, asking for comments to be submitted before April 20 this year.

At the moment, the declaration and review of probiotic health food is based on an earlier draft named Provision for Declaration and Review of Probiotic Health Food (Trial), which was implemented on July 1 2005.

China health claims concerns: Huge industry uncertainty as regulator embarks on regulations review

China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has announced the start of a public consultation to review health food claims​, leading to widespread industry uncertainty that regulatory experts claim will hit new product development and research.

A key part of the review​ is to consider the cancellation of existing health claims targeted at 'special consumer groups'​such as teenagers, children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers. These claims include "promoting lactation"​, "promoting / improving growth"​, and "improving oily skin".

Another part of the review is to formally do away with health claims that are no longer accepted by the regulator. There are at least 18 such claims, including "preventing tooth decay" and "reducing wrinkles"​.

Fortified flour distribution programme hits snag amid speculation on suspected 'siphoning'

India's Food and Civil Supplies Department (DFCS) is investigating 90 depot holders for failing to distribute fortified flour​ to designated beneficiaries.

To compound matters, the depot holders allegedly scanned and recorded the biometric thumb impressions of all the recipients, even those who had not received their allotment of flour. The department was alerted to the issue by one of the beneficiaries and has organised a task force of four inspectors to investigate the matter.

Anonymous insider sources have said this was the result of an attempt to siphon off flour, which was to be supplied by flour mills to the tune of 1,237,700kg of fortified flour. However, only 561,700kg ended up going to the beneficiaries, as the depot holders allegedly did not receive the allocated amount of flour.

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