Regulatory round-up: S'pore COVID-19 health claims clampdown, South Korea's new rules for functional ingredients and more

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

See the latest regulatory developments in Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and India. ©Getty Images
See the latest regulatory developments in Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and India. ©Getty Images

Related tags Singapore South korea Taiwan

In this round-up, we shine the spotlight on Singapore's clampdown on products that claim to have COVID-19 health claims, South Korea's new rules for functional ingredients use, and how the Indian state of Odisha is the first to exercise nutrition budgeting within the country.
Singapore clamps down on 1000+ e-commerce listings for false COVID-19 health claims

Singapore’s national regulator for health products, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), has removed a significant number of product listings claiming to prevent or treat COVID-19 from local e-commerce platforms.

These fraudulent products included health supplements, herbs, traditional medicines and “clip-on” products.

According to HSA​, these products contained false and misleading claims, such as “strengthen the immune system against the coronavirus” ​or “prevent and cure coronavirus​”. There is currently no evidence that such products can prevent or treat COVID-19.

New rules: South Korea expands propolis oral formats, removes upper limit for functional ingredients

South Korea authorities will allow propolis extract to be made into any form for oral consumption and the upper limit of 20 functional raw materials will be removed.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) said the changes​ were made to ease manufacturing standards so that various health functional foods made with advanced manufacturing technology could be developed.

One of the key changes, is the expansion of dosage formats for propolis extract which has oral antimicrobial properties. 

Taiwan introduces new labelling rules for special medical foods

The Taiwan Food and Drug Administration has introduced new labelling rules​ for special medical foods.

Special medical foods refer to products that are catered for individuals suffering from a particular illness. 

On Feb 6, the Taiwan FDA announced new changes​ to the special medical foods labelling rules.

South Korea to re-evaluate 12 functional raw materials, including ginseng

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) announced that it will re-evaluate​ the safety and functionality of 12 functional raw materials this year.

These 12 materials come from two groups, namely those from 1) the pre-defined list of materials and those which have been 2) individually recognised by the ministry after evaluating the safety and functionality data of a particular ingredient as submitted by businesses.

The first group, made up of eight materials, are red ginseng, ginseng, chlorella, difficult-to-digest maltodextrin, aloe gel, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), milk thistle extract, and marigold flower extract.

Prioritise children and women: Odisha the first Indian state to exercise nutrition budgeting

Odisha on the east coast of India has allocated billions for nutrition intervention work in its state budget – a first in the country.

The focus of the budget is to improve the nutrition status of children, women, and other vulnerable groups.

One of the eight socioeconomically backward states in India, the Odisha government made the announcement as it revealed the 2020 state budget.

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