More to come? China regulator seeks feedback on expanding list of health claims

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

China’s State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) is seeking to expand the current list of approved health claim for health foods.  © Getty Images
China’s State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) is seeking to expand the current list of approved health claim for health foods. © Getty Images

Related tags: Health claims, samr

China’s State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) is seeking to expand the current list of approved health claims and has convened a public consultation on potential new additions.

Currently, there are 24 approved health claims stated in the Directory of Health Function Available to Claim for Non-Nutrition Supplement Health Food.

These claims range from alleviating vision fatigue, aids in strengthening immunity, aids in antioxidation, aids in management body lipids, and aids in improving bone density.

The SAMR announced on August 2​ that it would be considering new claims that could satisfy consumers’ health needs and were scientifically logical and proven.

“The new functional claims should be clear and could be categorised into [three divisions, namely] supplementing dietary nutrients, maintaining or improving body health, or reducing the risk of diseases,” ​the SAMR said.  

The health claims could be applicable to products that are already existing in the market as ‘blue-hat’ registered products, or products approved via filing, or products that are not yet launched.

It is proposing to allow both individual members of the public and companies to submit new health claims.

In addition, the person or company submitting the claims should concurrently register the new health claims and the finished product with the authorities for evaluation.

At the same time, the new health claims should be backed by the relevant claims validation methods.

The closing date of the public consultation is September 1.

Promoting innovation

Once approved, the new policy is expected to drive innovation for both local and overseas health foods firms.

“This means that from now on, functional health claims are no longer restricted to the Directory’s existing list of 24 claims. [Companies] that already have health functional claims approved overseas or have developed newly innovative claims have the chance to have their claims included in the directory,” ​according to Hangzhou-based regulatory consultancy CIRS.

Last month, we reported that the most common types of claims made by ‘blue-hat’​ health foods approved in the first six months of 2022 were 1) strengthening immunity, 2) reducing blood lipids, and 3) antioxidizing.

‘Blue-hat’ health foods are approved via the registration track, which is a longer approval and expensive process as compared to the filing track. However, the types of active ingredients used in ‘blue-hat’ products are not limited to those listed in the Health Foods Raw Materials Directory.

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