The “biotics” round-up: Plans for postbiotics standards in China, calls to regulate probiotics in Hong Kong and more

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

The "biotics" round-up: See what's up in China, Hong Kong, and SEA

Related tags Prebiotics Probiotics postbiotics ISAPP microbiome

This round-up looks at the latest happenings in the booming “biotics” sectors spanning from pre-, pro-, and postbiotics across Asia-Pacific. The latest updates include China industry association’s plans for postbiotics quantification standards, Hong Kong Consumer Council’s calls to regulate the sector, and new product launches from Nurture and GenieBiome.
Postbiotics quantification: China health foods association rallies firms to draft industry standards

China Nutrition and Health Food Association (CNHFA) is drafting industry standards for quantifying postbiotics or inactivated cells and is rallying industry players and the public to take part in the process.

Industry players and the public could send in their suggestions to the CNHFA before March 1.

The National Institutes for Food and Drug Control (NIFDC) will lead the drafting process and in the past year, it has drafted cytometry standards to quantify cell counts with the use of fluorescent labelling.

Nurture to expand its Digestion + probiotic drink range as it set sights on South East Asia

Fonterra brand Nurture plans to expand its powdered probiotic drink range to target stress-relief and skin health for the SEA market this year.

The brand had earlier launched Digestion + Immunity, Digestion + Energy and Digestion + Focus targeted at busy, active working professionals.

Its inspiration stems from over 100 face-to-face interviews with individuals in Singapore and New Zealand. They revealed challenges including fatigue, tiredness, and inability to focus that directly impact one’s overall productivity and wellness.

Probiotic and eczema: GenieBiome launching synbiotics clinically tested on young kids to Singapore market​  

Hong Kong Biotechnology firm GenieBiome has set sights on expanding its probiotics range in Singapore, including one that has been clinically studied to improve eczema in young children.

The product, G-NiiB Immune Kids SIM03 was introduced to the Singapore market via platforms such as Shopee in October last year, but the company intends to make it available in major retailers Watsons and Guardian from February as well.

The product, designed for children aged one to five, is said to be clinically studied in the paediatric department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

Probiotic regulation call: Hong Kong Consumer Council urges government to set up legislation to oversee category​  

The Hong Kong Consumer Council is urging the government to set up legislation to regulate dietary supplements, including probiotics, the Council announced when releasing the findings of its review of 40 commercially available probiotics products.

Its findings showed that Enterococcus faecalis – ​a strain which the Council said was not recommended by the Joint FAO / WHO Working Group for use as a probiotic – was used in two out of the 40 probiotics. Also, there two in three products did not meet labelling guidelines.  

Referencing mainland China, the European Union, and Canada, the Council said that regulations for dietary supplements were set up in these regions, and it has urged the Hong Kong government to do the same to ensure consumer safety.

FAQs resolved: Postbiotics need not consist of metabolites, ISAPP clarifies

A common misunderstanding of postbiotics is that they are made up of metabolites, which the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) says is not necessarily the case.

In its latest statement published on January 10, the ISAPP, which put up a definition of postbiotics back in 2021​, has clarified that metabolites alone do not qualify as postbiotics and they are not mandatory components of a postbiotic.

​They highlighted that postbiotics, are made up of the words “post” and “biotic”, which means “after” and “living things” respectively. Thus, postbiotics should refer to something that was living and is now “after life” or inanimate.

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