Shanghai inspections: New health foods and infant formula rules won’t increase red tape - expert

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Shanghai authorities have introduced new rules for health foods and infant formula production since Aug 1. ©Getty Images
The Shanghai authorities have introduced new rules for health foods and infant formula production since Aug 1. ©Getty Images

Related tags: China, Infant formula, health foods

The Shanghai authorities have introduced new rules for health foods and infant formula production, with an industry expert assuring this won’t lead to extra red tape or cost for the manufacturers.

The market regulator in the Shanghai city introduced two new inspection policies targeting health foods and infant formula production.

The policies have come into effect since August 1 and place extra emphasis on ingredient, product safety, as well as transaction records.

Inspection officers to follow the new set of policies when conducting on-site reviews of factories making health foods and infant formula.  

The new guidelines will require inspection officers to check the safety of the ingredients, procurement records, and verify that the ingredients added into the products corroborate with official records.

If the manufacturers are unable to show official records on the safety of the ingredients, the inspectors will conduct food safety test on the ingredients.

In addition, the inspectors will check the finished products, including the product labelling and direction for use.

Even the employment credentials of the factory employees will be checked upon.

After each inspection, a grading will be given to the manufacturers.

Asked if the new guidelines would signify more red tape for the manufacturers, Cathy Yu, GM of the food business division at CIRS, said it was the factories inspectors that would be most affected.

“These new rules do not require more from the manufacturers. It is a guideline for government officials to check whether the manufacturers are acting in compliant to the government rules,”​ she told NutraIngredients-Asia. ​ 

She added that while MNCs would have their daily office operations based in Shanghai, the city was not a major location for infant formula and health food factories.

She pointed out that most of the infant formula factories were located in Heilongjiang and Xi’an, while health food factories were mainly found in Guangdong, Shandong, and Jiangsu.

Work in progress

In fact, the Shanghai authorities have been introducing new rules in recent months in a bid to raise the quality of locally produced health foods.

The city’s market regulator had introduced two new set of guidelines in March alone.

One is related to the inspection of factories manufacturing raw materials used in health foods.

The other one is related to the management of health foods sales and marketing. The goal is to ensure that the product labelling is aligned with national standards.

For example, health manufacturers are required to print the precaution for use​ on the product labels.

As for infant formula, the authorities introduced guidelines on ensuring the safety of raw materials used.

Similarly, this is part of the city’s effort to keep up with the food safety goals that the CCP and state council had outlined​ last year.

The ultimate aim is to revive China’s domestic infant formula industry by improving product quality.

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