Regulatory Review: Functional health claims, infant formula and food safety at the forefront of APAC's food and supplement regulations

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Regulatory Review: Functional health claims, infant formula and food safety at the forefront of APAC's food and supplement regulations

Related tags Functional food Infant formula products Protein

Read about China's ambitious food safety plans, India's proposal on infant food for special medical purposes, Nestlé Australia and NZ's bid to lower protein content in follow-on formula, and functional health claims in Japan and Korea.

Two goals, 10 action plans: China Communist Party and state council outline first joint food safety plans

China has outlined a set of food safety proposals​ to achieve two main goals: to ensure that 98% of all products fulfil spot-check requirements by 2020, and that the nation's food safety standards will be regarded as the world's best by 2035.

This is the first time a food safety proposal has been released by both the central committee of the Communist Party and the state council.

By next year, more than 97% of China's agricultural products should pass food safety inspection, while more than 98% of its food products should fulfil spot-check requirements, officials said.

Infant formula in India: FSSAI proposes regulations for products with special medical purposes

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a notification on a draft regulation for infant nutrition safety standards​, calling for industry stakeholders to submit their comments.

The draft details more comprehensive regulatory measures as an update to the existing 2011 regulations, covering standards for infant formula for special medical purposes, particularly food for infants with inborn errors of metabolism (IEM).

While most nutritional products for infants with IEM are imported into India, the FSSAI's proposed regulatory changes would make it possible for such products to be manufactured locally.

Nestlé seeks to lower minimum protein content in Australia and New Zealand follow-on formula

Nestlé has applied to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to reduce the minimum protein requirement​ for milk-based follow-on formula in the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code.

The application came specifically from Nestlé Australia and Nestlé New Zealand, which want to lower the minimum protein requirement in follow-on formula (designed as complementary food for children aged six to 12 months) from 0.45g per 100kJ to 0.38g.

The company has supported this decision by referencing the Infant Feeding Guidelines by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), adding that the suggested protein levels are closer to those in breastmilk, which tend to be naturally lower when the infant is between six and 12 months of age.

Foods with Function Claims in Japan: Four years on, which firms have benefited most from the regulations?

FANCL, Nippon Suisan, and Ezaki Glico are three of the biggest beneficiaries of Japan's Food with Function Claims​ (FFC), which was introduced four years ago and gave firms more opportunities to make health claims without going through the more stringent FOSHU process.

FANCL's revenue climbed from ¥800m (US$7.2m) to ¥5bn (US$45.5m) in the period since the FFC system was introduced.

The information was revealed by FANCL's executive VP and director, Kazumi Miyajima, when he was speaking a panel discussion at an event organised by Japan Direct Marketing Association (JADMA) recently. The theme of the event was to commemorate the FFC system's fourth 'anniversary'.

Cost and claims concerns: South Korean consumers wary about applying functional health claims to general foods

South Korean consumers have raised concerns​, including fears of price hikes and a spike in fake health claims, when the country permits some functional health claims to be applied to general foods.

This is according to a consumer survey​ conducted by the Consumer Federation of Korea, which took place between April 22 and May 6, involving 540 consumers in their 20s to 60s.

Nearly 80% of the respondents said functional food labelling was helpful and reliable. However, a substantial number raised concerns with the system.

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