South Korea’s MFDS proposes blood pressure claim for health foods containing garlic

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has proposed to allow a blood pressure related claim in health functional foods (HFF) containing garlic.  ©Getty Images
South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has proposed to allow a blood pressure related claim in health functional foods (HFF) containing garlic. ©Getty Images

Related tags MFDS South korea Garlic supplements

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) has proposed to allow a blood pressure related claim in health functional foods (HFF) containing garlic.

It is proposing to allow the new claim “may help improve blood cholesterol and control blood pressure” ​in HFF containing garlic, as new scientific evidence emerges.

At the moment, garlic containing HFF can only claim to help improve blood cholesterol.

The MFDS made the announcement on August 16​, which also included a number of other proposed changes to raw material that could be used in HFFs.

One of the proposed changes is to allow the botanical coleus forskohlii extract to be added into the raw materials notification list.

At the moment, it can only be used in HFF based on case-by-case assessment. In this case, companies will need to submit evidence related to the safety and functionality of its use before manufacturing the product.

If approved, all HFF manufacturers are free to use the botanical in their products, while overseas products containing the extract could be imported into Korea. 

When used in HFF, coleus forskohlii extract could claim to help reduce body fat with a daily intake of 500mg.

“The MFDS will continue to strengthen the safety of health functional foods and lay the foundation for the launch of various health functional foods,” ​the MFDS said.

The public consultation will end on October 17.

Precaution statement

At the same time, the MFDS has reiterated that HFF containing certain raw materials should come with precaution statements to alert consumers the potential risk of use.

These raw materials are chlorophyll-containing plants, spirulina, propolis extract, gamma-linolenic acid oil, psyllium dietary fibre, polydextrose, and red yeast.  

The precaution statement to be stated is “in case of adverse events, stop taking the product and consult a specialist”​. 

On the other hand, the MFDS has also proposed to reduce the permissible amount of lead present in spirulina and propolis extract.

Previously, the permissible amount of lead was 3mg/kg for spirulina and 5mg/kg for propolis extract. The regulator is now proposing to reduce it to 1mg/kg.

This is the second time the MFDS is enacting regulatory changes on these raw materials this year.

Earlier in January, we reported that the MFDS was no longer allowing the use of skin health functional claim for spirulina and has also adjusted the permissible daily intake level for three raw materials, namely spirulina, psyllium husk.

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